The cold weather has arrived here in the States and I thought I would share one of my favorite foods to eat when I am in Guatemala. It is a great chicken soup called Caldo De Gallina Criolla and when I am visiting our partner artisans homes they often make it for lunch. This soup is so delicious and special! I hope you try it and think of our ladies in Guatemala!
A good friend in Guatemala told me that when you see the word 'criolla' in describing a chicken soup it means the chicken was raised at home, probably similar to an organic, free range, home processed chicken not a chicken bought in the local store that came from a large chicken factory farm. .
Here is the authentic recipe from an exceptional Guatemalan cook and friend, Patricia.
6 pieces of chicken, cut up, about 2 pounds
3 medium carrots, cut into pieces about 1-2 inches long
1 guisquil, cut into large chunks
1 pound of potatoes, cut into large cubes
2 tomatoes, chopped up
1 small onion, chopped up
1-2 stalks of celery, cut into 1 inch pieces
2-3 stalks of hierba buena
1 teaspoon of chicken seasoning powder or liquid broth
salt to taste
Noodles if desired
Guisquil is a plant belonging to the gourd family- along with melons, cucumbers and squash. It is also known as chayote, pear squash or vegetable pear.
Hierbabuena is the Spanish name for a number of aromatic plants, most of which belong to the mint family. In Guatemala there are 3 hierbabuenas and each has a different use. The one used for cooking does not have a mint flavor. I substituted lemon balm which is also a member of the mint family but with no mint flavor. Others have suggested substituting pennyroyal.
Cook the chicken in enough water to cover it. (about 15 minutes) Add the chopped tomatoes, celery, onion, herbs, seasoning broth and salt. Cook for about 20 minutes. Next add the guisquil and carrots and cook 5 minutes. Last add the cubed potatoes and cook until all is tender.
Optional: add dry noodles at same time as potatoes if you want them in the soup
Serve with homemade tortillas of course!