Why not add some spice to your family Friday nights with this delicious, nutritious, soup? Get the whole family involved cutting, chopping and helping out!
This sumptuous version of classic chicken soup is tinted green with a fistful of cilantro and studded with potatoes, corn, and rice. Browning the chicken in advance and cooking it with the bone adds richness and depth to the soup and balances the pungent grassiness of cilantro.
The Peruvian yellow chile (aji amarillo) adds a bit of heat to the dish, but can easily be omitted if you don’t happen to have any around or if you prefer a milder flavor. Remarkably easy to make and done in about 30 minutes, this hearty soup is perfect as an afternoon snack or a light meal. This dish is best eaten as soon as it is ready. The rice continues to absorb the liquid as it sits, but it is also wonderful heated up the next day as a soupy chicken and rice.
Read Related: Weekend Cooking: Hearty Beef & Vegetable Soup
PERUVIAN CILANTRO CHICKEN SOUP (AGUADITO DE POLLO)
1 cup coarsely chopped cilantro, plus more for garnish
1 small onion, coarsely chopped
2 garlic cloves
1 TSP Peruvian yellow chile (aji amarillo) paste (optional)
2 TBSP cooking oil, like grapeseed or canola
4 small chicken thighs or 2 thighs and 2 drumsticks
4 cups chicken broth or vegetable broth, preferably homemade
½ cup long grain white rice, rinsed
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
½ cup fresh corn kernels or frozen, thawed
1 small russet potato, halved and cut into ¼-inch slices
Juice of 1 lime
- Place the cilantro, onion, garlic, and chile paste, if using, in a food processor and pulse until smooth and pulpy and set aside.
- Heat the oil in a medium pot over high heat. Season the chicken pieces with salt and pepper and arrange, skin side down, in the pot. Cook until the chicken is golden brown, about 5 minutes, then turn the pieces to brown their other sides. Lift the chicken out of the pot and place on a holding plate. Carefully and quickly scoop in the cilantro mixture. Lower the heat to medium and cook, stirring frequently, until the mixture thickens and darkens in color, about 3 minutes.
- Return the chicken to the pot, pour in the broth, and bring to a boil over high heat.
- Stir in the rice, cover, lower the heat to low, and simmer for 10 minutes. Add the potatoes, season with salt and pepper, and simmer 10 minutes longer. Stir in the corn and remove from heat.
- Remove the chicken pieces with tongs or a slotted spoon and place them on a plate to cool slightly. Cut or tear the chicken into bite-sized pieces, discarding the bone and the skin. Put the chicken meat back into the soup and stir to warm through. Sprinkle with cilantro and a squeeze of fresh lime and serve.
Variation • You can also make this soup with fish instead of chicken. Simply substitute the chicken with 1 pound of fish fillet, such as cod, halibut, or tilapia. Cut the fish into large chunks and brown them as you would the chicken, but add them back into the pot 5 minutes before the soup is done.
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