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I am looking for an authentic recipe for Caldo Tlalpeno. Anyone have one?

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  • d2u Dec 26, 2004 08:42 PM
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I have a customer who has requested this soup. I found a recipe in Rick Bayless' Authentic Mexican cookbook. I have never had this soup before, and I am wondering if there are other variations. My customer mentioned that there was rice in it. Any recipes? Thanks! Dawn

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  1. Every restaurant that I've tried this soup at uses basically the same ingredients. The main difference is the quality of chicken stock and how well the vegetables and chicken are cooked. Perhaps there are regional variations but I haven't found any in the Bay Area.

    Always use dried chipotles, not the ones in adobo (seems obvious). No other apparent heavy seasoning (besides salt) like Mexican oregano (but maybe a bit) or cumin (definitely not). Just one chile per large serving. Remove as many seeds as you see fit or just leave whole.

    Fresh tomato, celery, carrot, onion, turnip, and (precooked) garbanzo beans. Big chunks. The garbanzos are an addition that I never find in regular, non-spicy caldo pollo. Proportions aren't a big deal, but not too much tomato and a bit more turnip than the other veges. Cook in the broth until tender. The soup shouldn't be piled full of ingredients.

    Large chunks of poached chicken breast are put in at the last moment. (My suggestion is to make the broth from a whole chicken, remove the meat when just done and continue making the stock with the scraps and bones.)

    Rice is often served on the side but I think it may be a shortcut because there's always premade Spanish rice available at restaurants. You could add in cooked rice near the end so that the rice doesn't disintegrate. When it's put into the soup, it can just be white rice though some may like it cooked like a pilaf with onion and stock.

    And lastly chunks of avocado are dropped into the soup. Corn tortillas on the side.

    2 Replies
    1. re: Pork Butt

      Thank you, I have a question. The one recipe I found for this, from Diana Kennedy, calls for a canned chipotle. Why wouldn't you use canned? I have both available to me, but I am curious why you wouldn't use the canned chipotle. Thanks for posting this for me...Dawn

      1. re: d2u

        Canned chipotles en adobo are essentially dried chipotles reconstituted and cooked in vinegar, sugar, and tomato paste, which is basically ... ketchup.

        It's a fine ingredient, but I think the acidity and "ketchupness" of the adobo will affect the broth. But then again, I do add in a squirt of lime so while it's different, in the absence of dried chipotles, the en adobo may well be acceptable if you don't include the sauce. It's really the smoky heat that's important.

        The Caldo Tlalpeno broths that I've sampled have always been yellow with red spots of grease floating on top and the chile was obviously put in dried. So it's more tradition more than anything else to me.

        The other thing I should mention is that the soup seems rather salty to me. Since the restaurants where I order it at cater to a mainly Mexican clientele, I think it's a matter of taste.

        Well, it's been a few weeks since I've had it and after all this talk, it's time to get another bowl!

    2. According to a neighbor from Mexico, epazote is essential to this dish. I grow it. It's found as a weedy plant in much of the warmer parts of the US - even some colder areas, and is usually available at Mexican grocery stores.