Caldo de Pollo, or commonly known as Chicken Soup, is one of those feel better meals. It’s amazing how the combination of a few simple vegetables along with tender chicken can soothe the soul. Caldo de Pollo just makes sense when one of us is fighting a cold or feeling under the weather. The broth is wonderful, light and easy on the tummy!
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One of the beautiful things about Caldo de Pollo is the veggies. Traditionally, I make it with corn, carrots, cabbage, cilantro, onion and of course … potatoes. Once the veggies are chopped up, sauté the onions for a couple of minutes in a skillet, then add them to the soup base. A note about potatoes … you can peel them or leave the skin on. If you leave the skin on, like I prefer, make sure to wash and scrub them to remove any dirt that may be stuck in the grooves. Once they have been chopped, they need to be rinsed with cold water to remove the starch.
To add another dimension to this soup, add a little squeeze of lemon and pair it with a side of fresh corn tortillas. Then you’ll have a delicious bowl of love in your hands! Of course, I don’t make corn tortillas, (let’s not get crazy here okay 😉 ) I take a short cut and buy them fresh from a local tortilla factory. Because I like to keeps things simple, I take another short cut and use matchstick carrots. Less work = quicker meal = happiness. That, my friends, is key when someone is sick and grumpy!
As for the chicken, us what you like. I like dark meat because it’s full of flavor but some of my kids like white meat. So, I use a combination of both. Problem solved! I know as a shortcut, some prefer to use a chopped rotisserie chicken to speed things up. While that may work to some degree, I strongly suggest using raw, uncooked chicken. It adds so much depth to this dish and it’s really not that difficult to use either.
But if you should want to use a rotisserie chicken, make sure to debone and chop it up ahead of time. Then add it into the soup the last 5-10 minutes of cooking time. This way, the chicken doesn’t over cook. Keep in mind though, that the flavor won’t be as pronounced when done this way.
Caldo de Pollo (Chicken Soup)
- 1/2 medium Onion, diced
- 2 tbsp Olive Oil
- 6 pcs Chicken, uncooked *
- 6 medium Potatoes, cubed then rinsed
- 8-10 cups Water **
- 3 cubes Chicken Bouillion
- 1 tsp Salt
- 1/4 tsp Pepper
- 1 cup Matchstick Carrots, chopped
- 2 cups Sweet Corn, frozen
- 1/2 bushel Cilantro
- 1/3 head Cabbage, rough chopped
- 1 large Lemon, cut into wedges (optional)
- 1 dozen Corn Tortillas, fresh and warm (optional)
In a large stock pot, heat oil and add chopped onion. Saute until translucent, approximately 5 minutes. Place chicken in pot and cover with water, having about 2" above the pieces. Add bouillon cubes, salt and pepper. Simmer on medium high heat for 20 minutes, uncovered, stirring occasionally.
Add potatoes and corn. Bring back to a boil then reduce to simmer on medium high heat. Cook uncovered for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Add carrots, cabbage, cilantro and continue cooking for 10 minutes or until potatoes are pierced easily and cabbage is cooked.
Remove chicken pieces to a cutting board one at time. Remove skin and bones and discard them. Chop or shred chicken roughly then immediately add back to soup.
Serve immediately. Add a squeeze of fresh lemon juice to each bowl if desired. Serve with a side of fresh corn tortillas.
* Chicken: I used a mix of white and dark meat pieces (1 breast, 3 legs and 2 thighs) but feel free to use all white or all dark meat if desired. Some of the chicken might separate from the bone during the cooking process, so keep a look out for loose bones and discard.
* Water: The amount of water I use tends to vary so I recommend that when you first add water, to make sure you cover all the chicken pieces and then add enough water to give you about an extra 2 inches of depth. As the soup cooks, water will evaporate a little so you'll need to add more as it does. When the last of the veggies are added, make sure you are happy with the amount of water and add more if it's not enough. Taste the broth during the last 10 minutes of cooking time and add salt/pepper if needed.
And that’s how it’s done here in my home, folks. In under an hour, you’ll have this amazing Caldo de Pollo that will taste as if it’s been cooking all day! Have you made homemade chicken soup before? What shortcuts, if any, do you take?
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