Monday, January 28, 2008

Spicy Mexican chicken soup...

While you will find many versions of this Mexican chicken soup, Caldo Tlalpeño, Jeff and I both liked the combination of flavors and thought the preparation time to complete the dish was good for a busy weeknight.

One of the main flavors that seemed to be fairly consistent among all of those recipes is the addition of a smoky heat from chipotle peppers. You may be surprised to see a whole head of garlic used, but because the individual cloves are separated and simmered along side a couple chicken breasts, this process removes the bite allowing the garlic to become quite mellow. The chicken and garlic are poached in the same liquid that will be the base for the soup later on, so you will want to be sure to skim any of the foam or debris that float to the surface.

While those two bubble away, a chopped onion and an Anaheim chile pepper are cooked until they soften and have a tinge of golden on them. The garlic is moved to a blender, the chicken is set aside to cool slightly and the onion mixture is married with the broth mixture. Part of that broth, along with the spicy chipotle, are added to the garlic and buzzed together to create a smooth purée. Since we only need one chipotle from the entire can, I chopped the rest of the peppers and froze them in one tablespoon portions to use at another time. I have found they do keep for quite awhile if you keep them in an air-tight container in the refrigerator though.

This purée is added back to the soup base - to speed up the next part, the recipe calls for instant brown rice which cooks in just a few minutes, rather than the 30 to 40 minutes it would normally take. When the rice is tender, the soup is ladled into bowls that contain shredded pieces of the tender poached chicken breasts. Crisp, peppery slices of radishes are added on top, along with some chopped fresh cilantro and a squirt of lime juice. Unlike the last time we needed one, the market actually had some avocados... unfortunately for us, they were hard as rocks! So again, toss some creamy chunks on top for a cooling contrast. As a side, we served some basic cheesy quesadillas made with a blend of Mexican cheeses.


  1. I'm excited to see you liked this. It's on the menu here for supper tonight.

  2. Hi Joe, I just chanced upon the blog looking for some obscure recipe. Good to see other people appreciate Caldo Tlalpeño and it's relatives. I like to add shredded lettuce and other raw veggies to mine.

    I see lots of good recipes here, although it may take me a while to read through them all. Glad I found it.

  3. Tracy - What did you think?

    Seth - Thanks!