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.

caldodepollo3

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.

vegetables

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.

caldodepollo1

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
salt
Avocado, Lime, Sour Cream (for serving)

Fill a medium saucepan half way with water, bring to a boil.  Add frozen yucca.

frozenyucca

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.

vegetablesinpot

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:

chayote

And sort of on the inside, just quarter it and cut out the seed in the middle

chayote2

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.

caldodepollo2

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.

avocadolime

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.

Coconut Curry Stew and My New Love

Since moving, I had to start from scratch.

I bought furniture.  So now I have 1 bed, 1 nightstand, 1 table and 1 dresser.

I have 1 large plate, 1 small plate, 4 bowls, 2 cups, 1 mug, 1 old frying pan and this:

This is my new love.  It’s amazing.  Cast iron is every overly-domestic girl’s dream.

So when you have someone over for dinner and you only really have one plate (though luckily a few bowls) and one pot, start from scratch with fresh ingredients.  It’s easier than it sounds, I promise.

Wondering what to make?

Coconut Curry Stew, naturally.

It might wow your guest.  Who knows?  He might just be polite.  But either way, make this stew.  It’s easy, delicious, healthy, and requires minimal utensils without sacrificing flavor.

Coconut Curry Stew

2 tbsp olive oil
1 onion, diced
3 carrots, chopped
2 sweet potatoes, chopped into 1/2 inch pieces
1 jalapeno, seeded and chopped
1 red bell pepper, diced
1 can diced tomatoes
3 cloves of garlic, minced
3 cups vegetable broth
2 tbsp curry powder (or more or less depending on how you like it)
1 can light coconut milk
1 can garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed
salt and pepper to taste
1/4 cup chopped cilantro

Heat oil in a pot.  Add onions, carrots, sweet potatoes, bell pepper and jalapeno.  Cook, stirring occasionally, until onions are translucent.  Add garlic, cook for an additional minute, then add tomatoes.  Add broth and curry and simmer for about 20 minutes or until sweet potatoes soften.  Add coconut milk, garbanzo beans, salt and pepper.  Simmer for an additional 10 minutes.  Stir in cilantro and serve.

I served it with some sauteed kale.  I thought it was pretty tasty and super easy to make.

You can store left overs in a jar.  That’s how I roll.

Just keeping it real… or maybe I have no other storage containers…