Our craving for Mexican food comes in a few different forms. Most of the time, we want something that’s somewhat authentically Mexican, or at least as “authentic” as a couple of gringos with a bag of dried anchos and a Spotify channel full of reggaeton can muster. Other times, we skip right over trying to cook anything that Mexicans are actually eating, and drown our sorrows instead with huge bowls of cheese-and-enchilada-sauce soaked tortillas, stuffed with boil-in-a-bag Spanish rice and ladeled with sour cream and bottled taco sauce, eaten preferably in a dark room while watching reruns of the Gilmore Girls. But no matter which kind of craving we’re having, there’s one major Mexican food group that almost never crosses our mind: Soup.
It doesn’t make sense, and there’s no good reason not to have a few Mexican soup recipes in your weeknight rotation. Whether you’re cooking a humble turkey pozole, or an ancient sopa de lima, Latin-inspired soup allows you the opportunity to get that rush of classic Mexican flavor, the spicy heat from the chiles, the sharp bite of the lime, the cooling sour cream, all in a slurpable bowl that may not exactly be light on calories, but won’t send you straight for the couch afterward for a snooze, either.
We love this Guisadao de Pollo, a comforting stew popular not just in Mexico, but in Puerto Rico, the Dominican Republic, and across the Caribbean. Like any great comfort food dish, there are endless variations, just as with recipes for chicken and dumplings or beef stew here in the States. We like this version that starts with shredded chicken thighs and potatoes, before going totally off the rails at the end with crushed tomatoes, lime juice, and capers, of all things. It’s an inexpensive, filling soup that makes a great break from another “taco night,” and while still satisfying your craving for Mexican cooking.
- 1-1/2 cups fresh Mexican chorizo
- 1½ pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- 1 small white onion, chopped
- 1 medium carrot, chopped
- 1 red bell pepper, stemmed, seeded, and finely chopped
- 1 cup finely chopped fresh or canned pineapple
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon dried thyme
- 8 cloves garlic, minced
- 3 canned chipotles in adobo sauce, finely chopped
- 1 jalapeño, quartered lengthwise
- 1 lb. Yukon gold potatoes, cut into ½ inch cubes
- 4 cups chicken stock
- 3 sprigs cilantro
- 1 (15-oz.) can whole peeled tomatoes in juice, crushed
- 3 tablespoons capers
- Juice of 1 lime
- In a saucepan over medium-high heat, cook Mexican chorizo until brown, breaking it up with a spoon as you cook. Use a slotted spoon to transfer to bowl, and set aside. Season chicken with salt and pepper, and working in batches, add to pan, and cook, turning once, until browned on both sides and cooked through, about 15 minutes. Transfer to a plate and let cool; using a fork, finely shred meat and set aside.
- Return saucepan to heat, and add onion, carrot, and peppers; cook, stirring, until soft, about 8 minutes. Add pineapple, cumin, thyme, garlic, chipotles, and jalapeño, and cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 2 minutes. Add reserved shredded chicken and cooked chorizo back to pan along with potatoes, stock, cilantro, and tomatoes, and bring to a boil; reduce heat to medium-low, and cook, stirring occasionally, until potatoes are tender, about 30 minutes. Add capers and lime juice, and season with salt and pepper before serving.