During a recent conversation with my dad, I mentioned that I was making caldo de pollo. I was surprised when he asked, “What’s caldo?”
My dad speaks some Spanish so, I was a bit surprised when he wasn’t familiar with the word, caldo. I told him that it was like sopa, (which is soup, in Spanish). He knew sopa, but he had not heard of caldo.
That conversation got me thinking. What is the difference between caldo and sopa? So, after some research, I found that sopa translates to soup and caldo means broth. Caldo de pollo is chicken soup but, more importantly, it’s a soup made with a rich, delicious chicken broth.
Like many soups and stews, ingredients can easily be substituted. I used ingredients that I had on hand. You can replace any of the vegetables I used with cabbage, potato, celery, or whatever else strikes your fancy. I looked at this caldo as a good way to use some items before they withered away in my refrigerator.
I rarely measure ingredients exactly when I cook because I like to measure by sight, feel and aroma. This makes cooking exciting for me, but that can make describing recipes difficult when it comes time to post on the blog! I sometimes jot down ingredients and proportions on a 3×5 card while I cook…
3×5 cards don’t have spell checkers!
5 skinless chicken thighs (bone in)
1 cup chicken stock
2 cups water
A pinch of Mexican oregano
2 garlic cloves, mashed
½ onion, chopped
2 large carrots, chopped
1/3 lb. fresh green beans, chop
15 oz. can creamed corn, strained
1 zucchini (calabacita, if you can get it), peeled and chopped
2 bay leaves
A pinch of Mexican oregano
Salt and pepper to taste
Lime, cilantro, diced jalapeño, and diced onion, for garnish
Rinse the chicken thighs under cool running water.
Chop the thighs into large chunks. Chopping through the bones allows the bone marrow to release into the stock as it cooks, which is a great way to add rich flavor to the broth.
Add the cut chicken to a large stock pot. Cover with chicken broth and water. Set the heat to medium/low.
Add oregano and mashed garlic cloves.
Cover and simmer for about one hour.
While the chicken is cooking, prepare the vegetables.
Chop the onion, carrots, and green beans into large pieces. Set aside.
Strain the creamed corn. Save the solid pieces of corn and discard the liquid, (or drink it, like I did!)
Remove the cooked chicken to a cutting board and allow to cool for a few minutes.
Separate the bones from the meat with a knife and fork. Discard the bones.
Return the chicken to the pot. Cover and simmer at low heat for another hour.
Add the onion and carrot. Cover and simmer for 10 minutes.
Add the green beans. Cover and simmer for another 10 minutes.
Add the creamed corn. Mix gently to combine.
Add the chopped zucchini. Cover the pot and turn the heat off. Wait 20 minutes while the zucchini steams and softens.
Serve cut limes, cilantro, diced jalapeño, and diced onion on the side so that guests can add the items to suit their individual taste.
Don’t forget the beer!