Talk about comfort food! Caldo de Pollo is the ultimate comforting soup that is so familiar in Mexican households. It is full of all kinds of veggies and all the chicken your belly desires. Traditionally, as I grew up eating it, my mami would use a whole chicken and just cut it into the different parts. This way we all got a little bit of what we liked: my papi liked the chicken breast, my mami the wings, and I the thigh or drumstick. You can absolutely use any kind of chicken you want, mix and match, sub or add veggies. It’s so versatile and easy to make your own. There is one thing you must do though. You must add some salsa to your caldo de pollo and a squeeze or two of lime juice. It’s the cherry on top for this goodness.
The thing I love about making this kind of comforting dish that I grew up eating is the memories it brings. As the soup simmers and the smells invade the house I can’t help but think back to my mami making this for me. She always made homemade tortillas and Mexican rice to accompany it. Oh and homemade salsa, of course. However, she always had another way of adding some heat to this soup: dried chile de arbol. This pepper is little but potent. She would just cut one open and throw it into her bowl. The chile de arbol would infuse the soup adding some delicious heat. It’s now my favorite way to eat this soup and I highly recommend you try it if you have chile de arbol on hand. Another thing I highly recommend is using some kind of dark meat and/or skin on chicken. The fat from the skin and dark meat give this soup so much flavor as it turns into a delicious broth. This is one thing I will say not to skip because it truly makes a difference.
The best part of this caldo de pollo is that it is healthy and delicious. I mean really, what else can you ask for?! This is absolutely Whole30 compliant, (without the corn), but you wouldn’t even know it! Now, once you throw in the rice and have it with a side of tortillas just call it comfort and food freedom worthy. Remember, it’s all about balance! You can absolutely have the rice, the tortillas, and other goods you want without the guilt. Trust me, you WILL want those extra goods. It’s the traditional way to eat this, so incredibly comforting, and just dang good.
Caldo de Pollo (Mexican Chicken Soup)
- 10 cups water
- 4 lb chicken *see note
- 1 handful cilantro
- ½ onion sliced
- 1½ tbsp salt adjust to taste
- 1 yellow squash chopped
- 1 green zucchini chopped
- 2 ears of corn cut into three pieces
- 2 potatoes chopped into large chunks
- 3 carrots chopped
- 1 cup tomato sauce
- 1 bay leaf
- Place large pot or dutch oven over medium heat. Add water, chicken, cilantro, onion, and salt to pot and cover. Simmer for about 30 minutes until chicken is cooked.
- Add in the remaining ingredients, cover, and simmer for additional 15-20 minutes until potatoes are tender. Remove bay leaf before serving.