Posted by: Hil | April 12, 2013

Caldo de Pollo


I am home sick recovering from the flu.  I crawled out of bed at lunchtime craving something that would be (1)  simple to prepare, (2) comforting to a sore throat and congested lungs; (3) good for me; and (4) can be made with staples in my pantry/fridge/freezer.  Caldo de pollo fits the bill perfectly.  I got the recipe from Blueberry Mom, who got it from her co-worker Maria who is an endless source of amazing recipes for authentic homecooked Mexican food.  Don’t be deceived by the simple ingredients list–the end result is surprisingly flavorful and satisfying.  It reminds me a bit of pho, in that it is a simple, hot broth based soup with lots of spicy, herbaceous, cold garnishes.  Comfort food of the highest order.

Caldo de Pollo


For the soup

  • 4 bone-in chicken thighs
  • 2 bay leaves (Maria says these are very important)
  • 1 garlic clove, smashed
  • 3 carrots
  • 3/4 onion (save the remaining  1/4 for garnish)
  • 2 potatoes (or a small amount of rice)
  • 1-2 zucchini or pattypan squash (optional)
  • 1/2 bouillon cube
  • Salt

For the garnishes (Pick a few of the following that you have on hand and find appealing)

  • 1/4 onion, diced
  • 1 lime, cut into wedges (out of all of the possible garnishes, this is the one I consider non-negotiable)
  • Cilantro, chopped
  • 2 serrano or jalapeño chiles, finely diced
  • Queso fresco, crumbled
  • Salsa or hot sauce


Put chicken thighs and bay leaves in a pot.  Add one carrot, broken into thirds.  Quarter an unpeeled onion lengthwise, reserve one quarter, and throw the rest in the pot. 


Add water to cover.  Bring to a boil and then reduce to a simmer, mostly covered with a lid.  When the chicken is very well cooked, remove the chicken to cool on a plate and strain the broth.  Discard the carrot, onion and bay leaf.  Wipe or rinse out your pot, then return the broth.  Thickly slice the remaining carrots and potatoes (if using).  Add the carrots and potatoes (or rice) and simmer mostly covered until the veggies are cooked.  If you are using zucchini or squash, add that to the broth after the root vegetables are cooked.  I had no squash in the house, so I substituted cauliflower.

While the squash is cooking, prepare your garnishes, putting each into its own small bowl. 


When all the vegetables are cooked, tear the cooled chicken from the bone and in big pieces and add to the soup.  (You may only want to add about half of the chicken and save the rest for another use.  Season to taste.  Serve, garnish and enjoy!




  1. Yum! This was very delicious.

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