Who else gets hit hard by germs at the beginning of the school year? We have been through a couple of sniffle cycles already, and we are barely two months in. This soup is our go to when our immune systems are struggling to battle toddler born bacteria. Caldo de Pollo is the cure for whatever ails ya’! It’s warm, mild, hearty, and full of nutritious goodies that soothe both body and soul. This is probably not the caldo recipe that your abuelita would swear by (I’ve made a few non-traditional short cuts and tweaks), but it’s so good and so simple! I love ordering Caldo de Pollo at Mexican restaurants when the weather starts to cool down. Normally, the steaming bowl of well seasoned broth is stocked with giant hunks of carrot, corn, squash, and potato. The chicken is typically served intact complete with skin and bones, the same way it was poached in the soup pot. Mexican rice, tortillas, and a squeeze of lime on the side complete the meal. Restaurant style Caldo de Pollo is absolutely delicious, however it’s a lot of work to take the hot chicken out of the soup, shred it, return it to the pot, and cut up the vegetable hunks into bite sized pieces. Also, the leftover rubbery grey chicken skin and bones hanging out next to my bowl kind of gross me out while I eat (I normally get the waiter to take them away- ew). My caldo is easier to navigate thanks to roasted and pre shredded chicken meat (use rotisserie chicken if you’re in a pinch), and a bite sized medley of fresh veggies. Although it does take some time to simmer on the stove, it’s very easy to throw together and can be made well in advance. It also freezes beautifully! I intentionally kept the spice profile mild here, but feel free to add that whole jalapeño if you’re so inclined. Without the added spice, it’s perfect for kids and/or grown ups with sensitive tummies. This is my kind of “Chicken Soup for the Soul.” Enjoy and get well soon!
prep time: ~15 min. cook time: 50-60 min. serves: 6
2 lbs bone in, skin on chicken breasts (similar in size)
extra virgin olive oil or avocado oil
1 yellow onion, diced
2 carrots, diced
1 poblano pepper, seeded and diced
1 bell pepper (red, orange, or yellow), seeded and diced
1 medium zucchini, diced
1/2 jalapeño, minced
2 cloves garlic, minced
3/4 cup corn kernels, fresh or frozen
1 tsp oregano
1 tsp coriander
2 tsp cumin
1 dried bay leaf
2 yukon gold potatoes, peeled and diced into 1” cubes (about 1-1/2 cups)
1-14 oz can diced tomatoes
6-8 cups chicken stock
lime wedges, cubed avocado, cilantro leaves, sour cream, and/or tortilla chips
Preheat the oven to 350°. Place the chicken breasts on a foil lined sheet pan, drizzle them evenly with oil, and sprinkle liberally with salt and pepper. Roast them 30-40 minutes, until the temperature in the thickest part of the breast registers 160°. Allow them to rest until they are cool enough to handle. Remove the meat from the bones (save the bones to make stock if you like), and discard the skin. Coarsely shred the meat and set it aside.
Heat 1 tbsp of oil over medium heat in a large dutch oven or heavy stock pot. Add the onion, carrots, and a pinch of salt and let the vegetables cook 5 minutes. Next, add in the poblano and bell peppers, zucchini, garlic, jalapeño, the oregano, cumin, coriander, bay leaf, and another pinch of salt. Sweat the vegetable mixture another 5-7 minutes, until everything has softened and reduced.
Add the potatoes, corn, tomatoes, 6 cups stock (add extra of it gets too thick), 2 tsp salt, and 1 tsp black pepper. Bring the soup to a boil, then reduce to a simmer to cook for 30-40 minutes until the potatoes are tender.
Add the shredded chicken to the soup to warm through, about 5 minutes more. Check for seasoning, adding more salt and pepper as needed. Ladle into bowls and garnish with avocado, lime, sour cream, cilantro, and tortilla chips if you like!