Sopa de Pollo

I’m going to start off with this, making this dish in my style is a commitment. It’s going to be a lot of work. If this isn’t for you stop reading here. That said, If you want to put the work in to enjoy the sweet sweet payout then I salute you. Here we go. You need:

  • 6 carrots
  • 4 stocks of celery
  • 2 medium yellow or white onions
  • 8 cloves of garlic
  • 1 green pepper
  • 1 bushel of cilantro (we’re only going to use half)
  • 1 large or 2 medium boniato (South American white potatoes with a subtle sweetness. This may be hard to find depending on where you live but if you can find or order it, get it).
  • 1 large or 2 medium Yuca/Casava
  • 2 large Yukon potatoes
  • 2 stalks of fresh corn
  • 1 whole organic adult chicken (dead of course)
  • 1 lime
  • queso fresco (soft Spanish white cheese that crumbles)
  • salt
  • pepper
  • Adobo
  • Sazón spice packets
  • Chicken bullion

The Stock – Take 1 of the onions, 3 carrots (peeled and halved), 2 celery stocks, 4 garlic cloves, the green pepper (halved), and place them in a large soup pot with the heat on medium-low. You’ll want the heat more towards the low end of medium-low… this whole thing is going to take a few hours. Take your corn and shave off the kernels with a sharp knife. Take the kernels and save them for the soup. Take the bare corn stalks and add them to the broth. Then add a packet of Sazón. Add a little salt, pepper, a chicken bullion, and Adobo. I salted this through little by little until it was good, so when you make it don’t go crazy with the salt up front. Take your organic adult chicken and a large knife. Cut the thighs, drumsticks, and wings off of the chicken. Then add your pieces to the pot. Cutting the chicken allows the marrow to assist in flavoring your soup, so don’t just throw the chicken in whole. Make sure you cover the veggies and meat with enough water. Top it off with a handful of coarsely ripped cilantro. Let this cook on low-medium low for about 2 hours.

When your 2 hours are up, remove the chicken pieces and place them to the side to cool for about 30 minutes (after 30 minutes, cover it with foil and let sit until you add back to the soup). Get a separate soup pot and strainer and pour your stock into the new soup pot. Your veggies should remain in the strainer. Take a tough wooden or metal cooking utensil and push all of the liquid out of the veggies through the strainer, into the stock. We’re building flavor a small piece at a time, so you put in the effort and take the time to do this. Clean out your original soup pot.

You should be looking at a soup pot of only stock on an unheated burner (with some fat on the top), an empty pot on a warm burner we’re about to turn back on (original pot), and a container full of cooked chicken.

The Soup – Take the other 3 carrots (peel and sliced), 2 celery sticks (sliced), onion (chopped), 4 cloves of garlic (crushed and chopped). Take your root vegetables (potato, yuca, boniato) and peel and chop them. The yuca and boniato will be tough but worth it. When cutting the yuca, slice long ways then section it. Careful with your fingers, take this slow if you’re not used to it. You want the potatoes to be ice cube size (the ice cubes from a tray, not the ice maker). You want the boniato pieces to be slightly larger than the potato pieces, and the yuca to be slightly smaller than the potato pieces.

When all the above is prepared, take the original soup pot and skim the fat off of the top of the stock that’s been sitting there. Add that fat back into the main soup pot. It’s okay if you grab some actual stock, we’ll cook it out. There should be enough fat in the stock to not need oil. Add this fat to the main soup pan. Turn your heat on medium-low and start to cook the water out from the fat (watch carefully because this can burn easily). Then add the chopped onion, celery, carrots, garlic to the chicken fat. Cook for about 10 minutes. Add everything else (yuca, boniato, potato, corn, 1/4 cup of chopped cilantro). Add a little more salt and cook on low for another two hours. Keep tasting and seasoning little by little as you go. The seasoning in this stage can make or break this soup, so be patient. Once your veggies are soft add the chicken back into the pot (take it off of the bone of course). Salt a little more if needed and cook on super low (1st level of heat) for about one more hour.

The Finish – Take a ladle and fill up a bowl with enough soup. Quarter a lime and squeeze a little bit of fresh lime juice in your soup. Take about a quarter inch slice from the queso fresco and crumble it on top of the soup. Chop some fresh cilantro and also add that on top. You’re now ready to enjoy this dynamic and amazing dish.