I’m totally going to make a bet with myself as to how many blog posts I can work mentions of the weather into this Fall/Winter. I can see all of you jumping ship now. I really need new topics of conversation, I know. I was reading a hilarious story over on XOJane (if you’re not reading XOJane, you should be) about flu season and the writer’s remedies for being sick. Lentil vegetable soup came up in the course of the story and that’s good and all, but I think regular old chicken soup is an even better cure-all. I also think chicken soup has a tendency to get boring. And I’m not sick at all, but I found myself craving chicken soup. Well, actually I started craving beef caldo but we’re already having quite a bit of beef this week so I thought “okay, caldo tlalpeno” will fit the bill just fine. But then I looked at a recipe and didn’t want to make a soup with chickpeas and I didn’t want to put potatoes AND rice in a soup so I came up with this. It’s got a lot of really nice flavors; it’s slightly rich, is full of veggies, and slightly spicy. Whether you’re sick or not, you should totally try it.
Mock Caldo Tlalpeno
chicken pieces (I used 4 medium sized boneless, skinless chicken thighs)
half an onion, diced
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 small green zucchini, diced
a large carrot, peeled and sliced or diced
1 serrano pepper, diced (optional, since there are also chipotles in this)
some green cabbage, chopped roughly (I used like, a quarter of a small head)
can of chipotles in adobo (for what you don’t use of this small can, you can freeze for later use)
chicken stock *
steamed white rice
* If you think you don’t have the many hours required for making rich, yummy chicken stock, you’re wrong. If you have a crock pot, you can totally make chicken stock. Right before I went to bed, I put a chicken carcass, rough chopped carrots, onions and celery into a crock pot. I sprinkled everything with salt, added in some whole black peppercorns and some bay leaves, covered everything with cold water, put the lid on, set the crock pot on low, and let it cook overnight (about 9 hours overall). I woke up in the morning to a gorgeous pot of chicken stock.
Season your chicken with salt, pepper, chili powder and cumin. Heat a tablespoon or two of oil in a dutch oven. Brown your chicken thighs or pieces in the hot oil. Turn on medium-low, cover and let cook, turning occasionally, until the chicken is cooked through. Remove from the pan and set aside. When it’s cool enough to handle, chop them into small pieces.
Alternatively, you can season your chicken then boil it until it’s cooked through and shred-able. I didn’t just because I don’t like boiled chicken.
In a large soup pot, heat a Tablespoon of olive oil and a Tablespoon of butter until the butter is melted. Cook the onions and garlic until the onion is translucent. Then add in all the other veggies. Let these cook for a few minutes, until slightly browned. Add in a chipotle pepper (I used one) and about a Tablespoon or so of the adobo sauce. Toss in your chicken and add enough chicken stock to just cover everything. Season with salt and pepper, then let it cook on medium just until everything is warmed through and the flavors have come together.
To serve, spoon some white rice into a bowl, then top with a good ladle-ful of the soup. Add diced tomato and cilantro and slices of avocado on top. Eat with corn tortillas.