Caldo Tlalpeño: Chipotle-Tomato Chicken Soup

January 24, 2022

I am a tremendous fan of Pati Jinich, and this recipe is based off of one of hers. I made some subtle changes, but she deserves full credit for the base of it. Caldo Tlalpeño is a Mexican soup with a spicy tomato-chipotle broth filled with chicken, green beans, carrots, and garbanzo beans. A number of recipes use cumin, which I don’t. The soup has plenty of flavor without it. It normally is seasoned with epazote, but it can be rather hard to find, so I substitute cilantro.

To make the soup begin by covering whole tomatoes, garlic, a seeded jalapeño, and cilantro in water and bring to a boil. Then, reduce the heat and continue to simmer for ten minutes. Drain all but a half a cup of water or so and puree the using an emersion blender. It looks like it might not work, but it will. Once the mixture is well blended add in half of a white onion, chopped and three seeded chipotle peppers and a couple of tablespoons of adobo sauce. Puree well and taste. Add salt as needed. (Note: we are removing the seeds for texture purposes not to reduce heat. This soup is plenty spicy, but the seeds can be hard and unpleasant.)

Add two tablespoons of canola oil to a soup pot. We generally don’t use olive oil in Mexican cuisine. Heat the oil and add the puree. Cook for ten minutes over medium high heat, stirring frequently to thicken. Add 5-6 cups of chicken stock. I suggest using our recipe for basic chicken stock. You will need both the stock and the chicken for this recipe. Add the carrots, green beans, and the garbanzo beans. Be sure to give the garbanzo beans a rinse before adding them. The carrots are best cut into match sticks and the green beans should be bite sized. Bring to a boil, then lower to a simmer and cook for ten minutes.

Added shredded chicken and continue to cook for ten more minutes. Although I strongly recommend using our recipe, you can also used leftover chicken and a box of chicken broth. I just can’t promise it will be as good. The soup can stay on the stove on very low heat until you are ready to serve it. You can also make it a day or two ahead, refrigerate it, and reheat before serving.

To serve, garnish with fresh cilantro and white onion, finely diced serrano pepper, avocado, and a fresh squeeze of lime juice. It also is wonderful with a fried egg on top. This isn’t a traditional preparation, but I can’t resist adding eggs to things. I hope you will try this wonderful soup. It is spicy, but can be toned down, by eliminating the serrano peppers in the garnish or reducing the chipotles in adobo. Try one chipotle instead of three. For spice lovers, this is perfect the way it is, and i promise it will quickly become one of your favorite soups.

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