Best Chicken and Vegetable Soup with Chipotle Chilies (Caldo Tlalpeño) Recipe - How to Make Chicken and Vegetable Soup with Chipotle Chilies (Caldo Tlalpeño)

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Milk Street Recipe
Milk Street Bowtie Chicken and Vegetable Soup with Chipotle Chilies (Caldo Tlalpeño)

Chicken and Vegetable Soup with Chipotle Chilies (Caldo Tlalpeño)

1 hour

Chicken and Vegetable Soup with Chipotle Chilies (Caldo Tlalpeño)

Free

In Mexico City, Josefina López Méndez, chef at Chapulín restaurant, taught us to make a chicken and vegetable soup brimming with texture, colors and layers of delicious flavors. Called caldo tlalpeño, Mendez’ soup was boldly seasoned with aromatics such as tomatoes, onion and garlic, and was subtly smoky and spicy with chipotle chilies. Shredded chicken plus vegetables cooked until just tender gave the soup substance. Chickpeas, we later learned, are a common ingredient in classic caldo tlalpeño, but Méndez favors rice—she ladled the finished soup over already cooked rice that had been divided among individual bowls. In adapting her recipe, we slightly streamlined the process, using some of the broth that becomes the soup to steam the rice. Last-minute garnishes—avocado, cheese and cilantro—soften with the heat of the broth, their flavors and aromas mixing and mingling. Méndez offered a charred habanero salsa on the side to be stirred in to taste by diners. The spicy, tangy, bitter notes made the soup even more dynamic. Our version of her salsa follows; we highly recommend making a batch if you can, though the soup is terrific even without.

6

Servings

Tip

Don’t cook the vegetables past the point of tender-crisp. They will continue to soften from the residual heat of the soup after the pot is removed from the heat.

1 hour

1 pound ripe tomatoes, cored and quartered
1 large white onion, quartered
2 chipotle chilies in adobo sauce, plus 1 tablespoon adobo sauce
6 medium garlic cloves, smashed and peeled
1 bunch cilantro, stems roughly chopped, leaves chopped, reserved separately
2 tablespoons grapeseed or other neutral oil
2 pounds bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs, trimmed and patted dry
2 quarts low-sodium chicken broth
1 1/2 cups long-grain white rice, rinsed and drained
2 medium zucchini, quartered lengthwise and sliced about ¼ inch thick
12 ounces green beans, trimmed and cut on the diagonal into ½-inch pieces
Kosher salt and ground black pepper
1 ripe avocado, halved, pitted, peeled and chopped
2 ounces (½ cup) queso fresco cheese, crumbled, or queso Oaxaca cheese, shredded
Charred habanero salsa, to serve
Lime wedges, to serve
Ingredients
  • 1

    pound ripe tomatoes, cored and quartered

  • 1

    large white onion, quartered

  • 2

    chipotle chilies in adobo sauce, plus 1 tablespoon adobo sauce

  • 6

    medium garlic cloves, smashed and peeled

  • 1

    bunch cilantro, stems roughly chopped, leaves chopped, reserved separately

  • 2

    tablespoons grapeseed or other neutral oil

  • 2

    pounds bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs, trimmed and patted dry

  • 2

    quarts low-sodium chicken broth

  • cups long-grain white rice, rinsed and drained

  • 2

    medium zucchini, quartered lengthwise and sliced about ¼ inch thick

  • 12

    ounces green beans, trimmed and cut on the diagonal into ½-inch pieces

  • Kosher salt and ground black pepper

  • 1

    ripe avocado, halved, pitted, peeled and chopped

  • 2

    ounces (½ cup) queso fresco cheese, crumbled, or queso Oaxaca cheese, shredded

  • Lime wedges, to serve

Directions
  1. 01
    In a blender, combine the tomatoes, onion, chipotle chilies and adobo sauce, garlic and cilantro stems. Blend until smooth, scraping the blender jar as needed, about 2 minutes; set aside.
    See Demo
    Chicken vegetable soup chipotle chilies caldo tlalpeño 1
  2. 02
    In a large Dutch oven over medium-high, heat the oil until barely smoking. Add the chicken skin side down and cook, without disturbing, until well browned, about 10 minutes. Transfer to a large plate. Add the tomato-onion puree to the pot and cook, scraping up any browned bits, until a spatula drawn through the mixture leaves a trail, 6 to 8 minutes. Stir in the broth, return the chicken to the pot and pour in any accumulated juices. Bring to a simmer, then cover, reduce to medium and cook, stirring occasionally and adjusting the heat as needed to maintain a simmer, until a skewer inserted into the largest thigh meets no resistance, about 30 minutes. Remove the pot from the heat. Using tongs, transfer the chicken to a clean plate; set aside.
    See Demo
    Chicken vegetable soup chipotle chilies caldo tlalpeño 2
  3. 03
    Measure 2¼ cups of the hot broth into a large saucepan and add the rice. Bring to a simmer over medium-high, then cover, reduce to low and cook without stirring until the rice has absorbed the liquid, about 18 minutes. Remove from the heat, uncover, drape a kitchen towel across the pan and re-cover. Let stand until ready to serve.
    See Demo
    Chicken vegetable soup chipotle chilies caldo tlalpeño 3
  4. 04
    While the rice cooks, use 2 forks or your hands to shred the chicken into bite-size pieces; discard the skin and bones. Set the shredded meat aside.
    See Demo
    Chicken vegetable soup chipotle chilies caldo tlalpeño 4
  5. 05
    Bring the broth in the Dutch oven to a simmer over medium. Add the zucchini and green beans; cook, stirring occasionally, until the beans are tender-crisp, about 5 minutes. Remove the pot from the heat, then stir in the chicken and about half of the cilantro leaves. Taste and season with salt and pepper.
    See Demo
    Chicken vegetable soup chipotle chilies caldo tlalpeño 5
  6. 06
    Using a fork, fluff the rice, then divide it among individual bowls. Ladle the soup over the rice. Top each serving with avocado, cheese and the remaining cilantro leaves. Serve with the salsa and lime wedges.
Tip: Don’t cook the vegetables past the point of tender-crisp. They will continue to soften from the residual heat of the soup after the pot is removed from the heat.
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Chicken and Vegetable Soup with Chipotle Chilies (Caldo Tlalpeño)

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6

Servings

1 hour

Tip

Don’t cook the vegetables past the point of tender-crisp. They will continue to soften from the residual heat of the soup after the pot is removed from the heat.

Ingredients
  • 1

    pound ripe tomatoes, cored and quartered

  • 1

    large white onion, quartered

  • 2

    chipotle chilies in adobo sauce, plus 1 tablespoon adobo sauce

  • 6

    medium garlic cloves, smashed and peeled

  • 1

    bunch cilantro, stems roughly chopped, leaves chopped, reserved separately

  • 2

    tablespoons grapeseed or other neutral oil

  • 2

    pounds bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs, trimmed and patted dry

  • 2

    quarts low-sodium chicken broth

  • cups long-grain white rice, rinsed and drained

  • 2

    medium zucchini, quartered lengthwise and sliced about ¼ inch thick

  • 12

    ounces green beans, trimmed and cut on the diagonal into ½-inch pieces

  • Kosher salt and ground black pepper

  • 1

    ripe avocado, halved, pitted, peeled and chopped

  • 2

    ounces (½ cup) queso fresco cheese, crumbled, or queso Oaxaca cheese, shredded

  • Lime wedges, to serve

Step 1 of 6

Make the Tomato-Onion Puree

1
pound ripe tomatoes, cored and quartered
1
large white onion, quartered
2
chipotle chilies in adobo sauce, plus 1 tablespoon adobo sauce
6
medium garlic cloves, smashed and peeled
1
bunch cilantro, stems roughly chopped

In a blender, combine the tomatoes, onion, chipotle chilies and adobo sauce, garlic and cilantro stems. Blend until smooth, scraping the blender jar as needed, about 2 minutes; set aside.

Step 2 of 6

Cook the Chicken

2
tablespoons grapeseed or other neutral oil
2
pounds bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs, trimmed and patted dry
2
quarts low-sodium chicken broth

In a large Dutch oven over medium-high, heat the oil until barely smoking. Add the chicken skin side down and cook, without disturbing, until well browned, about 10 minutes. Transfer to a large plate.


Add the tomato-onion puree to the pot and cook, scraping up any browned bits, until a spatula drawn through the mixture leaves a trail, 6 to 8 minutes.


Stir in the broth, return the chicken to the pot and pour in any accumulated juices. Bring to a simmer, then cover, reduce to medium and cook, stirring occasionally and adjusting the heat as needed to maintain a simmer, until a skewer inserted into the largest thigh meets no resistance, about 30 minutes.


Remove the pot from the heat. Using tongs, transfer the chicken to a clean plate; set aside.

Step 3 of 6

Cook the Rice

cups long-grain white rice, rinsed and drained

Measure 2¼ cups of the hot broth into a large saucepan and add the rice. Bring to a simmer over medium-high, then cover, reduce to low and cook without stirring until the rice has absorbed the liquid, about 18 minutes. Remove from the heat, uncover, drape a kitchen towel across the pan and re-cover. Let stand until ready to serve.

Step 4 of 6

Shred the Chicken

While the rice cooks, use 2 forks or your hands to shred the chicken into bite-size pieces; discard the skin and bones. Set the shredded meat aside.

Step 5 of 6

Cook the Vegetables

2
medium zucchini, quartered lengthwise and sliced about ¼ inch thick
12
ounces green beans, trimmed and cut on the diagonal into ½-inch pieces
Kosher salt and ground black pepper

Bring the broth in the Dutch oven to a simmer over medium. Add the zucchini and green beans; cook, stirring occasionally, until the beans are tender-crisp, about 5 minutes. Remove the pot from the heat, then stir in the chicken and about half of the cilantro leaves. Taste and season with salt and pepper.

Step 6 of 6

Serve

1
ripe avocado, halved, pitted, peeled and chopped
2
ounces (½ cup) queso fresco cheese, crumbled, or queso Oaxaca cheese, shredded
1
bunch cilantro, leaves chopped
Charred habanero salsa, to serve
Lime wedges, to serve

Using a fork, fluff the rice, then divide it among individual bowls. Ladle the soup over the rice. Top each serving with avocado, cheese and the remaining cilantro leaves. Serve with the salsa and lime wedges.

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