Mexican Chicken and Vegetable Soup (Caldo de Pollo)
SERVES 8–10 Active: 30 min. • Total: 2 hr. 30 min.
Multiplied to use 4 or 5 chickens, this simple soup can feed the whole village family at Yo’on Ixim. Using all parts of a large pollo ranchero contributes to the flavor of this soup, so don’t be afraid to cut up and add the chicken’s backbone, organ meats, and feet. Each season offers different vegetables, but the mainstay for this southern Chiapas soup is chayote, an edible gourd, as well as tomatoes and onions.
1 large farm-raised chicken, with skin (about 5 lb.), cut into serving-size pieces 4 chayotes (3 lb.), cut into 1½-inch wedges 8 medium carrots (1 lb. 4 oz.), peeled and cut into 1-inch chunks 8 small red potatoes (8 oz.), quartered 2 medium yellow onions (1 lb. ), peeled and sliced 4 medium ripe tomatoes (2 lb.), skinned, seeded, and coarsely chopped 10 oz. green beans, trimmed (2 cups) ¼ cup kosher salt, plus more to taste 1 large poblano pepper (4 oz.), stemmed, seeded, and cut in 1-inch strips Fresh cilantro, for serving Lime wedges, for serving Corn tortillas, warmed, for serving
1 In a very large pot, add the chicken pieces (including the bones, feet, skin, and organs) and 6 quarts cold water. Bring to a low boil over high heat, and let cook for 20 minutes. Add the chayote, carrots, potatoes, and onions, and return the soup to a boil. Add the tomatoes, green beans, salt, and the poblano, return to a boil and cook until the vegetables are soft, the chicken is very tender, and the broth is flavorful, 60–70 minutes. Taste and adjust the seasoning as needed.
2 Divide the chicken and some vegetables and broth among 8–10 large soup bowls. Top with fresh cilantro and serve hot with lime wedges and warm corn tortillas.