Monday, November 21, 2011

Caldo de Pollo

You will love this soup.

Gwen gave me an adorable cookbook as a present one year, The Soup Peddler's Slow and Difficult Soups: Recipes & Reveries by David Ansel. We agreed that a book with a title like that has a specific audience and we both believe we're it. We like our soups cooked long and slow with a story about a Jewish great aunt or annual neighborhood potluck to back up their authenticity.

After using this book for a half dozen years, I now have a crush on the Soup Peddler, David Ansel. If/when I make it back to Austin, Texas, I will go to his shop and eat his soup (AND I will go again see the bajillion Mexican freetail bats depart from Congress Ave bridge for their night forage. Once is not enough.) The cookbook is a quirky, fictionalized account of his first year as the Soup Peddler. This recipe is from one of Austin's legendary restaurants, Guero.

The soup:
1 chicken
12 C chicken stock
2 onions, cut into thin strips
3 carrots, peeled and very coarsely chopped
3 stalks celery (w leaves), very coarsely chopped
1/4 head cabbage, very coarsely chopped
2 potatoes, peeled and cut into thick rounds
1 (6oz) can of tomato paste
1 T ground cumin
3/4 C uncooked white rice
S&P to taste

Cilantro "Pesto":
1 bunch cilantro, coarsely chopped
2 jalapenos, stems removed
juice of 1 lime

Halve the poor chicken and put it in your soup pot. Cover with the stock, bring to a simmer over high heat, hten lower the heat to medium. You may, at any time, pull the chicken out and pull the skin off to keep the fat content to manageable level. Regardless, cook the chicken until the leg bone feels as though it will easily pull out of its socket. The longer you let it go, the more flavor you'll extract from the bones. Remove the chicken to a tray to cool.

Add the onions, carrots, celery, cabbage, potatoes, tomato paste and cumin to the pot and return to a gentle simmer. Meanwhile, pull the meat from the bird, shred it and add it to the soup.

Once the carrots and potatoes are soft, add the rice, season with S&P and continue to simmer for about 20 minutes longer.

Meanshile, make the pesto. Use a food processor or, if you're in absolute pursuit of slowness, a molcajete y tejolete (a Mexican mortar & pestle) to grind the cilantro, jalapenos and lime juice together. Stems and seeds are encouraged.

When the rice has cooked well, to the point where its split ends make the soup appeart to be swimming with X chromasomes, remove the pot from the heat and stir in the green paste concocted above. Serve steaming hot. [Instead into the pot, I drizzled a little on the soup's surface once it was ladeled into a bowl.]


hefk said...

I'm making it again right now. Third time in 6 weeks. yu-hum!

hefk said...

Ok, I got cocky on the third try and got a little too creative. I was worried I didn't have enough white rice to make the chromosome-esque starchy magic at the end so I dumped in some tiny star-shaped pasta. Do not replace the white rice with pasta. Not magic. Not chromosome-esque.

I've now commented on my own recipe twice. Is this like "liking" my own facebook status? i.e. high-fiving myself in public?

I Love Baby Quilts! said...

OMG I was just searching the web looking desperately for a similar recipe to the Guero's soup and here you were!!! I'm stunned! I get the actual recipe! I'm extremely excited. Thank you.