Caldo de pollo or hearty chicken soup is not reserved just for cold weather months, or for only Sundays. Even if just a small pot, I like having this caldo(soup) on hand for a quick lunch or dinner. I prepare some rice or fideo noodles, warm some tortillas, grab an avocado and I am ready to eat!
In my opinion, I believe this chicken soup recipe is pretty universal. It’s when it comes to the garnishes that it’s takes on a Mexican twist. Although when I read the list of garnish suggestions, I am reminded of some of the delicious Thai soup dishes that my friend Suwanee introduced me to. Minus the avocado, the ingredients are very similar.
But if you grew up in a Mexican family, you could not have a hot bowl of soup without those warm corn tortillas. A little lime juice, a sprinkle of salt and then roll that tortilla as tight as possible, Lol! You seriouslycould make a meal out of those on there own, but you shouldn’t, ha, ha, ha! This recipe can easily be adapted to the slow cooker. See instructions at the end of blog post.
Caldo de Pollo-Hearty Chicken Soup
Start With Homemade Chicken Stock
- 3 pounds chicken pieces
- 2 bay leaves
- 2 teaspoons peppercorns
- 1 celery stalk
- 1 carrot
- small handful cilantro
- 1 medium onion sliced in half
- 1 head of garlic
- 2 chile de arbol
- salt to taste
- 12-14 cups water
You Will Also Need
- 4 white or red potatoes quartered
- 4 large carrots sliced
- 4 stalks celery sliced
- 1 small onion diced
- 3 cloves garlic minced
- 1 serrano pepper minced
- 2 roma tomatoes diced
- 4 ears of corn sliced in half
- 1/2 head green cabbage roughly chopped
- Handful chopped cilantro
- Juice of 1 large lime
- 1 cup sliced radishes optional
- Lime wedges
- Cilantro chopped
- Avocado sliced
- Chile serrano minced
- Begin by adding all of the ingredients for the chicken stock to a large pot. Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer. Skim the foam that comes up to the top of the stock as it cooks. Cook at a steady simmer for 45 minutes to 1 hour.
- Remove chicken pieces and strain out out of the remaining solids. Add the stock back to pot and bring back up to a boil. Skim off any extra fat off the top, if any.
- Once boiling, reduce heat slightly. Add in the potatoes, carrots, celery, onion, garlic, serrano and tomatoes. Cook at a steady simmer for 25 minutes or until vegetables are fork tender. Add in the corn, cabbage, cilantro and lime juice. Taste for salt. Continue cooking for 20-25 minutes.
- At this time, you could add the chicken back in as is, or you can remove the skin or bones, if you like. Add it back in a cook just until warm. Serve with rice and warm tortillas. Top with your favorite garnishes.
For Slow Cooker: To the slow cooker add all of the ingredients for preparing homemade stock. Cook on low for 6 hours or until chicken is tender. Using a slotted spoon, strain out the solids, including chicken. Remove as much of the fat from the top layer as you can. Add in all of the vegetables listed and continue cooking for 2 hours or until potatoes are fork tender. Remove chicken from bones and add back into soup. Cook for another 30 to 40 minutes.
Tips~ If you have room to store homemade chicken stock in your freezer, I would highly suggest preparing it when you can. Your caldo’s, rice dishes and sopa’s will taste so much better with homemade stock.
Here is a variation of Caldo de Pollo Con Frijoles y Arroz. It is prepared in the same manner with a few different ingredients. This version has chayote squash and orange bell peppers There is no cabbage or corn in this recipe. Right before serving, I like to add a large spoonful(cooking spoon) of Mexican rice and frijoles en bola(whole cooked beans). Garnish as usual.
Tips~Shred the chicken finely before adding it back into the soup. Try some different beans, like red beans or black beans.
Sonia, this is the perfect dish to prepare today. I’ll be making a pot for home and one to take to my Dad, as he’ll be discharged from the hospital today. Sending much love from California.
Sending prayers and well wishes for your Dad Ana. Food comforts the soul.
At 75 I now am learning to cook for myself. I recently moved to San Antonio, TX. Caldo de Pollo is one of my favorites. I came across your site and your fantastic recipe. My first time caldo.. Wow! I’ll be making this a lot. Love it. Thank you
Oh good! This makes me so happy! Thank you for your nice comments.
Can’t wait to try this! Do you crush the peppercorns and the chile
No, I don’t. I typically strain the broth, but if a few peppercorns manage to stay, I don’t worry about it too much.
what can i use for the stock if i dont have the time to make my own stock?
Hi Brandy, I would suggest using a good quality chicken base for soups to prepare a quick broth.
I made this last night and it was delicious. I added some zucchini squash and threw in a few extra chiles de arbol and it came out soooo good. Thank you for sharing this!
That’s what I love to hear Evelyn! Mix it up and make the recipe your own. Thank you for the feedback!
I followed your recipe Sonia and the caldo was delicious! Thank you for your authentic recipes. I didn’t have tomatoes but I added in zucchini (:
Hi Michelle! I’m so happy you tried and enjoyed the recipe for the caldo! Thank you for taking the time to comment!