Whenever it’s cold and rainy in California (Yes, it really does happen), I think of Caldo de Pollo, or Mexican Chicken Soup. There’s something incredibly comforting about coming home with soaking wet feet after a day of struggling with your umbrella in the wind and enjoying a bowl of this soup. No penicillin needed to heal the heart and calm the mind. Just delicious soulful goodness. Mmmm…
Every country, every culture has a version of chicken soup, but Mexicans make the best Caldo de Pollo, or Mexican Chicken Soup. I know. I know. I might be ever so slightly biased, but from one foodie to another, this stuff is totally la bomba! I think it’s because we include oodles of vegetables that people north of the border don’t use. See that corn staring back at you? I chopped the ear into small 3-inch pieces and let them cook with the other ingredients for hours. The longer they simmer, the better. Yum! Yum!
When it comes to the vegetables (corn is a grain), I rough chopped everything all at once and set it aside. Why chop twice? The onion, I diced into tiny pieces because nearly no one likes to bite into a big piece of onion. My favorite veggie delight for this soup is the Mexican squash, or calabacitas. (See picture above). You can very well use zucchini if you can’t find Calabacitas at your grocery store. I prefer Calabacitas for my Caldo de Pollo, or Mexican Chicken Soup, because they are a little sweeter (and, cuter). I usually have to go to a Mexican market to find them though.
Caldo de Pollo, or Mexican Chicken Soup, is a comforting dish that everyone will enjoy. It takes on the flavors south of the border without overwhelming your palate. You do, however, always have the option of adding a little more jalapeño to give it a bit of a zing. That outta get your cold wet feet dancing again. Enjoy!
- 5 lbs chicken
- 4 celery sticks, chopped (divided)
- 1 onion, diced (divided)
- 4 garlic cloves, finely minced (divided)
- 2 carrots, chopped
- 4 Mexican squash, or zucchini, chopped
- 1 jalapeño, finely diced
- 2 ears of corn, chopped into 3-inch pieces
- 8 cups water
- Salt and pepper
- 2 bay leaves
- Juice of 2 limes
- Handful of cilantro, chopped
- In a large stock pot, add 8 cups of water, chicken, 2 celery sticks, ½ onion, 2 garlic cloves, salt, pepper.
- Cover and bring to a boil.
- Reduce heat and let simmer for 1 hour.
- Skim the fat off the top of the liquid.
- Reserve the liquid.
- Discard the other ingredients from the pot except for the chicken.
- Set the chicken aside and let it cool.
- Once the chicken is cool enough to handle, remove meat from the bones.
- In the same pot, add the remaining celery, onion, garlic, carrots, squash, jalapeño, corn, reserved liquid from the cooked chicken, salt and pepper, bay leaves, lime juice, and chicken.
- Make sure the liquid is 2 inches above everything in the pot.
- If not, add water and more salt.
- Cover and cook for 1 hour on low heat.
- Serve and top with cilantro.