My parents had a really hard time convincing me to eat at a Mexican restaurant for the first time when I was young. I just plain out refused. I really can't tell you why, other than the fact that I just don't like change and I was a really picky eater. They finally told me I could order quesadillas, "Mexican grilled cheese sandwiches". The owner of Margarita's Restaurant made them specially for me whenever we went there: cheese and tortillas, nothing else.
Eventually I realized that I loved a lot of different Mexican dishes. They even have soup: Albondigas Soup. There are many recipes for this soup; this is how I make it. (NOTE: quantities given are just guidelines. I don't measure veggies, I just use what I have. The recommended three quarts of stock will make a BIG pot of soup; I usually make less.)
Friends of mine recently decided that "soup is a vegetable"! I think I could eat it everyday, even in summer. I make mine a little thicker than normal - with either a thicker liquid or with less liquid and more solids - Rachel Ray calls it "stoup", a combination of "stew" and "soup".
1 lb ground beef
1/3 cup uncooked rice
1 tsp salt
1 raw egg
3 qts chicken stock, or part stock/part water
3 cloves garlic, chopped
4 stalks celery, chopped
3 onions, cut into quarters
4 lg carrots, peeled and sliced
1 can of diced tomatoes
Salt and pepper to taste
1 tsp cumin
A dash of cayenne (optional)
1 tsp dried oregano
Fresh spinach or other greens
Cilantro for garnish if desired
Mix ground beef with rice, salt and the raw egg. Form into meatballs.
Bring broth to a boil in a large pot. Turn down to a slow simmer and gently add meatballs. Simmer gently for 20 minutes.
Add the remaining ingredients except spinach. Simmer for 1 hour and 15 minutes or until rice in meatballs is cooked through (or cook all day in the crockpot). Add in the greens and simmer for an additional 15 minutes.
Serve hot with fresh flour tortillas, and with sour cream, shredded cheese, guacamole, cilantro, etc to put on top.
This would be great served with quesadillas!