Albóndigas Soup

For the Soup
1 Tablespoon vegetable oil
1 medium yellow onion, finely chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon dried oregano, preferably Mexican
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
6 cups beef stock
2 cups canned crushed tomato
1 small chipotle chile, minced (optional)
1-2 teaspoons adobo sauce
2 medium carrots, grated
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 cup grated zucchini
1/4 cup uncooked rice

For the Albóndigas
1/2 pound ground beef
1/4 pound ground pork
1/4 cup grated zucchini
1 extra large egg
1 garlic clove, minced
4 corn tortilla chips or one stale corn tortilla processed into crumbs
1 Tablespoon minced fresh cilantro
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon dried oregano, preferably Mexican

Chopped fresh cilantro
Crumbled Queso Fresco

In a large saucepan, heat the oil over medium heat. In the oil, sauté the onion and garlic with the oregano and cumin until the onion is soft and translucent. Add the stock, tomatoes, chipotle, adobo, carrots, and salt (zucchini and rice will be added later). Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer the soup for 20 minutes while you make the albóndigas.
Preheat the oven to 350º F. Lightly grease a large baking sheet; set aside. In a bowl, combine all of the meatball ingredients and mix well. Form into small balls, about 3/4-inch in diameter. Place the meatballs on the baking sheet and bake until browned and cooked through, about 20-25 minutes.
Remove the meatballs from the baking sheet and drain on paper towels. Add the meatballs, along with the reserved zucchini and rice, to the soup.
Continue to simmer for 30 minutes. Ladle the soup into bowls and garnish with chopped fresh cilantro and Queso Fresco.
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