Thursday, April 15, 2010

Caldo Talpeno

Back when I was in college, I spent a winter studying Spanish in Cuernavaca, Mexico.  I wanted to live with a Mexican family so I could immerse myself in the Mexican culture.  That is, in fact why it is called an immersion program. ha! Studies have shown that language immersion is the surest and quickest way to learn a language, and I can attest to that!  It went a little further for me though.  I came back to the US obsessed with not only the Spanish language, but the food, and culture as well.

Typically in Mexico, lunch is the biggest meal of the day.  I would come home mid-day for this comida and the table would be set for a full on feast.  My "familia" owned a clothing store and would shut the doors from 1-3pm and eat together.  I love that custom.   If only.....

The main dish, usually meat, would change daily, but the one thing you could count on is that the comida would start with a soup and fresh pan (bread,  a type called bolillos).  This is a tradition I love. 
This classic Mexican chicken soup is absolutely one of my favorites, and you will find it on every menu in Mexico.  On a recent trip to Mexico I would want to order it, but kept seeing new things that I hadn't tried before...and I always love to try new foods.  Still, I never lost that craving that I had, so we made a big pot of it the other night.   Que rica esta sopa.

Caldo Talpeno

10 cups chicken broth 
1 white onion, chopped
3 gloves garlic, diced
2 lbs chicken breast
2 celery stalks, chopped
2 carrots, chopped
2 small zucchini, chopped
1 small can chickpeas
3/4 cup rice
1 small can of jalapenos in adobo sauce
2 avocados, cubed

Cut chicken into thin slices, and season with salt and pepper. In a dutch oven or stock pan, sauté  onions, garlic and celery in olive oil, and add chicken to pan and cook until 3/4 done. 
Add chicken broth and carrots.  Bring to a low simmer for 20 minutes. 
Add rice, zucchini and chickpeas.  Cook until rice is done.  Add salt to taste.

Serve hot, and garnish with avocado cubes and one chile en adobo.  
Buen provecho.

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