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Caldo Tlalpeño


Many versions of this Mexican soup exist, with mostly the vegetables changing depending on the season. This one is named after a neighborhood in Mexico City. The constants, and the great thing about this soup, are the garbanzos, chipotles, and chicken. They’re a fine trio even if they don’t seem to be an obvious combination.

The other important factor is your chicken broth. I once had a cooking instructor give me a conspiratorial wink and then confess that she never made her own broth and instead bought it in cans or cartons. I found this bizarre. I can cut as many shortcuts as the next guy, but I don’t think you can make great soup without a great foundation, and that’s the broth. I have had some really good vegetarian soups, so the issue isn’t the meat. At this point, nothing you pull off the market shelf can compare with a good broth. And thankfully, stock is very easy to make. I like to poach a whole chicken to get the broth and chicken meat for this soup, along with plenty of leftovers. 

Serves 4–6 

  • 1 cup dried Garbanzo Beans
  • 1/2 white onion, minced
  • 2 chipotle chiles in adobo sauce, roughly chopped, with seeds and sauce
  • 1 cup chopped tomatoes
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tablespoon good-quality lard or olive oil
  • 6 cups chicken broth
  • 1 cup peeled and sliced carrots
  • 2 small zucchini, sliced
  • 1 cup shredded cooked chicken
  • Avocado cubes for garnish
  • Lime wedges for serving 
  1. Cook the garbanzo beans (see our master recipe for directions). Drain, then set aside.
  2. In a blender, combine the onion, chipotle chiles, tomatoes, and garlic and puree until smooth.
  3. In a stockpot or large saucepan, heat the lard over medium heat. Add the pureed vegetables and fry, stirring occasionally, for about 5 minutes. Pour in the broth, bring just to a simmer, and simmer uncovered for about 15 minutes. 
  4. Add the garbanzos, carrots, and zucchini and continue to simmer until the carrots and zucchini are barely cooked, about 8 minutes. Add the chicken and continue to simmer until the vegetables are just cooked and the chicken and garbanzos are heated through. 
  5. Ladle the soup into warmed individual bowls, garnish with avocado, and serve immediately. Pass the lime wedges at the table. 

Recipe from Supper at Rancho Gordo


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