1 1/2 lb ground beef
1 cup shredded Mexican cheese
2 tbsp freshly chopped cilantro plus more for garnish
1 jalapeno finely chopped
1 large egg
1 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
1 medium onion chopped
1 red bell pepper chopped
5 cloves garlic minced
1 tbsp chili powder
2 tsp dried oregano
3 tsp ground cumin
1 1/2 cup fresh or frozen corn
1- 28oz can diced fire-roasted tomatoes
4 cups chicken broth
Oil for frying
4 small corn tortillas sliced into thin strips
Juice of 1 lime
In a medium bowl, combine ground beef, cheese, cilantro, 1 clove garlic minced, jalapeno, egg, and 1 tsp cumin and season with salt and pepper. Mix until combined, then form into meatballs.
In a large skillet over medium-high heat, heat oil. Add meatballs in a single layer and sear 2 minutes per side. Transfer to a plate.
In a large pot over medium heat, heat olive oil. Add onion and pepper and cook until soft, about 5 minutes. Add remaining garlic, chili powder, oregano, and remaining cumin and cook until fragrant, about one minute more. Season with salt and pepper.
Add corn, tomatoes, chicken broth, and bay leaf and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer. Add meatballs and let cook until soup has reduced slightly, 15 to 20 minutes.
While soup is simmering, make crispy tortilla strips. In a large skillet over medium heat, heat a 1/8-inch layer of oil. Once shimmering, add tortilla strips and cook, in batches, until golden and crisp, about 2 to 3 minutes. Transfer to a paper towel-lined plate and immediately season with salt.
Remove bay leaf from soup and add lime juice. Ladle soup into bowls and top with tortilla strips, avocado, and cilantro.