Caldo de Pollo (Guatemalan Chicken Stew)
If you asked me what my favorite food is, I would spend forever trying to decide and ask you a million follow up question… is it my favorite food to eat all the time? or for a special occasion? Savory or sweet? Appetizer? Main dish?
If you were my boyfriend you’d probably just say, “answer the question.”
To which I would respond “Caldo de Pollo, if we’re talking about what I like to eat on a normal day.”
I have a habit of not answering questions, or if I do, qualifying that response with a million follow up excuses as to why I can’t really answer the question.
I’m very indecisive. So here it is. If I had to choose a favorite food to eat all the time, it would be this: Caldo de Pollo.
That just means chicken stew, but this is how my family (and I think most Guatemalan families) makes it.
The vegetables are all in big chunks and there’s a bit of chicken in there.
It’s probably the easiest thing in the world to make. It’s also delicious and healthy. Whenever I go home, I want my mom to make two things: black beans and caldo de pollo. It’s just delicious.
Caldo de Pollo
1 lb chicken thighs, bone in (boneless is fine too)
1 bunch cilantro
1 tomato, whole
1 onion, ends cut off and peeled
1 chayote (güisquil), quartered
1 cabbage, cut into 6 wedges
3 carrots, peeled and cut in half
1-2 celery ribs
a few pieces of fresh or frozen corn*
2-3 small potatoes
1 small bag frozen yucca
Avocado, Lime, Sour Cream (for serving)
Fill a medium saucepan half way with water, bring to a boil. Add frozen yucca.
Boil until tender, it should take about 30 minutes. This is crucial. If you put the yucca in the water before it boils, the yucca will stay tough. Make sure your yucca is tender and keep it in the freezer until the water is boiling, then add it to the water.
While the yucca cooks, start the rest of the soup. The beauty of this soup is that it’s fast and doesn’t involve a lot of chopping.
Big chunks of carrot and güisquil (güisquil in Guatemala, but chayote in Mexico so that’s what you’ll probably see it labeled as in US grocery stores) are appreciated. But the cabbage is my favorite part. Not familiar with guisquil/chayote? It looks sort of like a pear from the outside:
And sort of on the inside, just quarter it and cut out the seed in the middle
In a large post, add all of the ingredients. Add enough water to cover the ingredients. Bring to a boil and simmer for about 45 minutes or until cabbage and potatoes are cooked through. The take a fine mesh strainer, take out the tomato, peppers and cilantro. Pour some of the broth on it and using a spoon, mash the tomato, peppers and cilantro to get the most flavor out of it, then discard. Add yucca you cooked separate to the pot.
Serve with lime, sour cream and avocado. I usually just eat it with lime and avocado, but sour cream makes it super tasty, just mix it into your bowl just before eating.
*I don’t like corn, so I never use it, but most people (including my mother) add it.
I like to pack mine up into 6-7 containers (that’s how many meals a big pot makes), and take them for lunch for the week.
Healthy and delicious lunch that is totally Paleo friendly if you omit the potato and yucca. Even though yucca is a root, I think it’s too starchy for Paleo.
But seriously, what makes this delicious is the lime and avocado.
It takes a regular soup and makes it out of this world. Don’t skimp on that!
So what’s your favorite food? Something you could eat everyday and not get tired of.