Caldo Tlalpeño, a more sophisticated version of the home-style caldo de pollo, is another traditional soup now found in many Tex-Mex restaurants. Made in much the same way as caldo xóchitl, this Tlalpán-style soup includes chicken as well as several fresh vegetables and garbanzo beans.
If you can’t find dried chipotles, you can substitute 1 canned chipotle chile, plus 1 teaspoon of liquid from the can; however, the flavor of the soup won’t be as smoky.
2 beefsteak-style tomatoes
6 1/2 c. chicken broth
3/4 lb. boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1 T. olive oil
1 c. finely chopped white onion
2 cloves garlic, minced
3/4 c. finely chopped carrots
1 1/2 c. garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed (a 16-oz. can yields about 1 3/4 c. beans)
1 c. finely chopped zucchini
1/2 c. frozen green peas, thawed
1 dried chipotle chile
1 tsp. lime-juice
1/4 tsp. black pepper
1/2 tsp. salt, or to taste
2 medium-size ripe avocados, peeled and coarsely chopped
1/4 c. grated cotija cheese
Place tomatoes on broiler pan, and position pan as close to broiler as possible; broil 10-20 minutes until tomatoes are soft and skins are blackened. Purée tomatoes in a blender or food processor. Strain through the fine blade of a food mill or push through a strainer; set aside purée.
Place chicken broth and chicken breasts in a large pot, bring to a simmer, and cook about 5 minutes, or until chicken is just cooked through. Remove chicken, and reserve broth. When chicken has cooled, shred it, and place equal portions in each of 4 large soup bowls.
Heat a large pot over medium heat, add olive oil, and cook onions about 5 minutes, or until just beginning to brown. Add garlic, and cook 1 more minute. Add reserved broth and purée and remaining ingredients, except avocado, cheese, and lime wedges; bring to a simmer, and cook 8-10 minutes. Remove chile, and ladle soup into the bowls over chicken. Add equal portions of avocado to each bowl, and top with cheese. Serve with lime wedges. Yield: 4 entrée servings.
From the January 2006 issue.