Caldo de Pollo

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!


Botanas are snacks, or appetizers.  A variety of small snacks are served on a large platter and are intended to be served communally. 

I’ve been wanting to make refried beans for several days now and this seemed like a good way to showcase them.  Homemade tortillas, fire roasted poblano chiles, mesquite grilled chicken and queso Chihuahua offer bold flavors and textures to the party platter.  Lettuce, cilantro and tomato add bright colors to the ensemble.

The botanas platter took several hours to complete.  Boiling dried beans and preparing tortilla dough take an hour and half each to complete.  Roasting chiles and the chicken on an outdoor grill requires another hour, or more.  Some of these tasks can be done in advance and kept chilled and then reheated, when you are ready to assemble the platter.

Ingredients for Refried Beans:

2 cups dry pinto beans, cleaned and rinsed

1 guajillo chile, stemmed and seeds removed

1 cup onion, sliced in large rings

½ gallon water

¼ cup lard

2 Tbs bacon fat

½ tsp salt

½ tsp cumin

Directions for refried beans:

Add dry pinto beans to a pot of water.  Turn heat to high.

Slice the guajillo chile in half.  Add the chile and onion to the pot.

When the pot begins to boil, turn the heat to low and cover.  Simmer for one and a half hours.

Strain beans and discard the onion and chile. Rreserve one or two cups of the broth. 

In a large skillet, add the lard.  Melt the lard at low/medium heat. 

Add cooked beans and stir.  Fry the beans for about 5 minutes. 

Add about 1 cup of the reserved bean broth. Simmer and stir for one minute.

Add the bacon fat and stir for another minute.

Mash the beans with a potato masher or large fork.  Mash and mix the beans until they are creamy.  Add more broth if desired.

Add salt and cumin.  Stir for a minute.  Turn heat off and turn out to a serving bowl.

Ingredients for Fire Roasted Poblano Chiles:

3 fresh poblano chiles

The green onions will be grilled, too. They will be in another recipe.


Roast chiles on the grill at very high heat.  Turn the chiles every 3 or 4 minutes to char each side. 

Once the chiles are charred on all sides, place them in a bowl and cover with foil or plastic wrap.  The chiles will soften and cool to room temperature in about 15 minutes. 

Remove the chiles and peel the charred outer skin away from the chiles. The charred parts should easy separate from the rest of the chile. Cut the stem off and pull out the seed cluster.

Slice the chiles lengthwise and lay the chile out on a cutting board.  Remove any seeds that were missed.

Slice the chiles in thin ribbons, about ¼” thick.  Set aside.

Pollo a la Parrilla de Mezquite

(Mesquite Grilled Chicken)


2 medium sized chicken breasts

1 tsp red chile powder

1 tsp cumin

1 tsp garlic powder

1 Tbs olive oil


Sprinkle chile powder, cumin and garlic over the chicken.  Drizzle with olive oil and toss, to mix.

Carefully place chicken on a hot grill and grill each side for 3 to 4 minutes.  Remove the chicken, wrap in foil and store in a warm place until ready to serve.

Quesadillas de Rajas con Queso

(Quesadilla with Poblanos and Cheese)


Flour tortillas

Sliced roasted chile poblano

Sliced Chihuahua cheese


Add sliced cheese and strips of poblano pepper to one half of a tortilla. 

Make a quesadilla by folding the tortilla to cover the cheese and chile. 

Fry the  quesadilla in butter and olive oil at low/medium heat for a few minutes on each side.

Remove and cut the quesadillas in half.

Burritos pequenos

(Small burritos)


Flour tortillas

Refried beans

Sliced Chihuahua cheese


Add refried beans and cheese to a tortilla. 

Roll the tortillas to form burritos. 

Pan fry in butter and olive oil at low/medium heat for a few minutes.

Remove burritos and slice into small, bite sized pieces.

Assemble the botanas platter

Arrange the lettuce, cilantro and tomato on one edge of the plater.  Nestle sliced chicken next to the salad.  Add a bouquet of roasted poblano next to the chicken.

Arrange the quesadillas and mini-burritos in a decorative array to complete the platter.

Celebrate and enjoy!