Thursday, December 22, 2011

Winter Solstice Supper

Nothing suits a cold, damp evening better than piping hot pots of soup. We ushered in this dark winter solstice with our interpretation of caldo de pollo.

There isn't really a recipe so much as a process. That's the way Granny does it, y'know. It always starts with some sort of bone-in chicken. On occasion we use a whole chicken and then de-bone it before adding the veggies if that's what's on hand. Our preference, however, is to use a combination of legs and thighs or leg quarters and then just leave them bone-in.

We dump the chicken into a pot and cover with water. Then we season generously with salt, a good amount of chili powder and garlic, a fair amount of cumin, a bit of cayenne and sometimes a bit of oregano. That simmers gently until the meat is tender and the kitchen smells good.

Large chunks of whatever veggies are handy get dumped into the pot at that point. Usual suspects at our house are potatoes and carrots. Once those are tender, we usually turn off the heat and drown small cabbage wedges into the broth if we have any in the fridge. By the time it's cooled just enough so the kids don't get scalded, the cabbage is done.

We dish it up in wide, relatively shallow bowls. Everyone chooses from diced onion, chopped cilantro, avocado chunks and rice to spruce up the basic soup according to our own preferences and then squeeze limes over the top.

Warm up some corn tortillas and dinner's done.

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