The problem with most chicken broth soups is the flavorless broth itself — regardless of what else it contains. In this case, the broth is spicy and delicious, and the salsa added at the last minute gives it freshness. This is a rich vegetable soup, fortified with rice and spiked with jalapeno. Everything except the vegetable garnishes may be made up to two days in advance. Bring the soup to a boil over medium heat and it will be sufficient to reheat the rice. And remember that this chicken broth has a kick; try it in other soups based on broth!
- Frying Chicken - 1, cut into pieces
- Water - 10 cups
- Salt to taste - (about 2 teaspoons)
- Freshly ground black pepper - 1 teaspoon
- Ground Cumin - 1 tablespoon
- Epazote Sprig - 1 (optional)
- Basil Sprigs - 1, or 1/2 teaspoon dried basil
- Bay Leaves - 3
- Whole Cloves - 4
- Dried Oregano - 1 tablespoon
- Garlic Cloves - 5
- Zucchini - 2 cups, sliced
- Carrots - 1-1/2 cups, diced
- Celery - 1-1/2 cups, diced
- Green Bell Peppers - 1-1/2 cups, diced
- Onion - 1 medium, peeled and chopped
- Garbanzo Beans - one, 17-ounce can, drained and rinsed
- Cilantro Leaves - 1/2 cup, tightly packed
- Green Onion - 1/2 cup, chopped, white part only
- Jalapeno Chilies - 1 to 2, seeded, deribbed, and minced
- Hot Cooked Rice - 3 cups
- Ripe Tomatoes - 2, seeded and diced
- Ripe Avocado - 1, finely cubed and sprinkled with lemon juice to prevent discoloration
To prepare the broth: Place the chicken, water, salt, pepper, cumin, epazote, basil, and bay leaves in a large soup pot. Bring to a boil over high heat, skimming off the foam that rises to the surface. In a blender, puree the cloves, oregano, and garlic with a little water and add to the broth. When the broth comes to a boil, lower the heat to simmer and cook until the chicken pieces are very tender, about 40 minutes.
Remove the chicken pieces with a slotted spoon. At this point, the broth could be strained and used for any soup or other preparation.
To finish the caldo: After removing the chicken pieces from the broth, add the zucchini, carrots, celery, green peppers, onion, and garbanzo beans to the broth and simmer until the vegetables are tender but still slightly crisp, about 15 minutes. When the chicken meat is cool enough to handle, discard the skin and bones and shred the meat. Return the chicken to the soup.
In a small bowl, mix the cilantro, green onion, and chopped chilies.
To serve: Place 1/4 cup of rice at the bottom of each soup bowl and ladle the soup over it. Garnish with the cilantro mixture and cubes of tomato and avocado.