Caldo Tlalpeno (Tlalpan Chicken Broth)

“This is well-balanced dish; the aromas and flavours are still in my mind. It was one of my mom’s favourites and she used to make it every two weeks or so. Her kitchen was full of energy when she came back from the market. Every spoon of this broth was a gift from her heart.
–Israel Alvarez, Comal Pop-up

1 skinless chicken breast
1 chicken carcass
1 or 2 bone-in chicken thighs (or equivalent)
½ T fresh epazote leaves*
1 lg carrot, roughly diced
1 l potato, roughly diced
1 or 2 med green zucchini, roughly diced
1 handful green beans, cut in half
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
½ white onion, finely chopped
2 or 3 med tomatoes, dry-roasted, peeled, seeded, and chopped
½ c cooked chickpeas
kosher salt and black pepper to taste
2 T cilantro, chopped
1 serrano or jalapeno, finely chopped
1 can chipotle chilies in adobo, seeded and chopped
1 lime, cut into wedges
1 avocado, diced

Put the chicken carcass, breast and thighs in a medium saucepan. Add 5 cups water, enough to cover. Bring to a boil over medium heat. Add the epazote leaves with stems and let it infuse for a few minutes (the broth should have a herbal taste like anis). Discard the epazote and add the potatoes, carrots, zucchini and green beans. Season with salt and pepper, then reduce the heat and simmer for 30 minutes or until the chicken is tender.

Heat oil in a pan. Add garlic, onion and tomatoes. Cook over low heat, stirring once in while, for about 5 to 8 minutes. Transfer the sautéed vegetables to the pan of chicken, stir well and add the chickpeas. Bring to a simmer for 15 minutes or so.

Remove the chicken pieces from the saucepan and coarsely shred the meat. Discard the bones. Add chicken back to the saucepan. Add salt and pepper and adjust seasoning and remove the saucepan from the heat.

Divide the soup into four bowls. Garnish with avocado, cilantro and chiles. Squeeze a lemon wedge to finish it.

Serves 4

* La Tienda 9844 63 Avenue carries both dry and fresh epazote.