cream of tomatillo soup

2015-11-11 a.o.

The tomatillo or husk tomato is easier to grow and produces better in dry desert conditions than tomatoes. When they fully ripen, they turn yellow and are sweeter than green tomatillos.

Tomatillo Albóndigas is a deservedly famous Mexican recipe. I used the classic recipe with some minor adaptations. It has a fairly very long ingredient list, but the outcome is definitely worth the effort.

Creamed tomatillo is a common ingredient for salsas and sauces in the (New) Mexican kitchen. Yet, I have never seen this soup on the menu in a New Mexico restaurant, even though it is quite easy to make in advance. The creamed has nothing to do with cream. Blending is what makes them creamy. Creamed tomatillos make an excellent salsa that I prefer over tomato-based green salsas.


Pic1: 2015-11-11
Pic2: 2015-12-20
Pic3: 2017-10-13



for 5 quarts / 10 servings:


  • 2 lbs. tomatillos or 1 qt. canned tomatillos.
  • 1 medium onion (8 oz.), peeled and coarsely chopped
  • 7 large garlic cloves, peeled, cut in half
  • cilantro
  • ½ teaspoon ground cumin,
  • S&P
  • 2 chicken legs.

meatballs (albóndigas):

  • 1 lb. ground beef chuck (20% fat)
  • 1 lb. ground pork or sausage meat
  • 1 cup onion, finely chopped
  • ½ cup white rice, cooked
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 t2 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 tsp. ground cumin
  • 1/4 tsp. ground cloves


  • Juice of 4 limes (½ cup)
    My tomatillos are so acidic that no lime juice was needed. I even added a 2 tbsp. of sugar to the soup to counter the strong acidity somewhat.
  • Leaves from 10 sprigs fresh cilantro, coarsely chopped


1. Make the soup

  • Remove the tomatillo husks, wash the tomatillos and cut them in half.
  • Combine tomatillos, 2 qts of water, and all the other soup ingredients in an 8-qrt. pot.
  • Bring to a boil over medium heat.
  • Reduce the heat and simmer for about 15 minutes until the tomatillos are soft.
  • Skim off foam and grease.
  • Remove the chicken legs.
  • Puree everything with a stick blender.
  • If the soup is too acidic, add water, baking soda, sugar as you prefer.
  • Bring to a simmer again.

2. Make the meatballs

  • While the soup is simmering, combine the ground meat with the other ingredients in a large mixing bowl.
  • Mix thoroughly.
  • Form the meat into meatballs.
    Keep your hands lightly moistened with cold water to prevent the ground meat from sticking.
  • The mix should yield about 40 walnut-sized, 1-ounce meatballs.

3. Cook the meatballs

  • Place meatballs in the soup and continue to simmer, about 30 minutes longer.
  • Optional:
    • skim off any foam and the grease from the chicken that rises to the top. I usually leave it. The foam will disappear again after a while and the fat adds flavor.
  • Adjust the seasoning.

4. Serve

  • Place some meatballs in each soup bowl. Ladle some soup over the meatballs.
  • Serve immediately.
  • Optional:
    • Sprinkle with chopped cilantro
    • Squeeze lime juice into each bowl.
    • Stir 1tbsp. of heavy cream into each bowl. Don't combine lime juice and cream.

the pictures tell the story


Pic4: yellow tomatillos are ripe = sweeter
Pic5: cut, simmer
Pic6: blend


Pic7: meat mix
Pic8: make meatballs
Pic9: boil them in the soup

A simplified recipe


Feel free to adapt recipes according to what you have available in the house.
In this one, I added carrots to the meatball mix.




Making the meatballs:

Making the soup: