Long ago, while going through one of those “watch what you eat” phases, I tried an unfamiliar dish at a local Mexican restaurant in attempt at being calorie conscious. I had no idea what it was, nor could I come even close to pronouncing its name (Caldo Xochitl). I did know that, being soup, it was probably healthiest option on the menu full of cheese laden and deep fried dishes.
As it turns out, the soup was not only very healthy but it was also extremely delicious! Not to mention, I’m kind of a sucker for any dish that comes with it’s own plate of garnishes (like Vietnamese Pho). I love being able to customize the flavor of each bowl with fresh herbs, vegetables and sauces. Thanks to this happy accident of an experince, Caldo Xochitl has been on my “to cook” list for a long time. This weekend its number came up.
This soup was incredibly easy to make, is full of bright flavors and is the perfect light dinner for the summer months (just eat it inside where there is AC).
I used bone-in chicken breast for the soup because they are relatively inexpensive and because the bones and attached tissues give more flavor to the broth. If boney, connective tissue filled meat scares you boneless, skinless chicken breast will work but will also be twice as expensive. I also used frozen celery left over from another recipe that I had cleaned, chopped and frozen so it would be ready to use later… like today.
Caldo Xochitl (Mexican Hot Flower Soup)
- 1 Tbsp olive oil ($0.10)
- 2 cloves garlic ($0.06)
- 1 small yellow onion ($0.36)
- 2-3 stalks celery ($0.37)
- 1 split skinless, bone-in chicken breast ($1.89)
- 15 oz can diced tomatoes w/chiles ($1.08)
- 2 medium limes ($0.36)
- 1/2 bunch cilantro ($0.44)
- 2 medium avocados ($1.98)
- 2 Tbsp 6 cubes chicken bullion/base ($0.60)
- Chop the garlic, onion and celery. Place them in a large pot with 1 Tbsp of olive oil and cook over medium heat until soft (about five minutes).
- Add the chicken breast (freeze the others that came in the pack) and 6 cups of water. Simmer with a lid on for about 30 minutes (med/low heat).
- Carefully remove the chicken breast from the pot and remove the meat from the bone with a fork and knife. Shred the meat into small pieces and return it to the pot.
- Add the chicken soup base, stir to dissolve. Add the can of tomatoes with chiles and the juice from one lime. Chop 1/4 bunch of cilantro and add to the pot. Taste the broth and adjust the salt, lime or cilantro to your liking.
- Slice the avocados, chop the remaining cilantro and slice the remaining lime. Serve each bowl of soup with avocado, cilantro and lime as garnishes.
Step By Step Photos
Cook the chopped garlic, celery and onion in olive oil over medium heat until softened.
Add the chicken breast, bone and all to the pot along with 6 cups of water.
Simmer the chicken over medium/low heat with a lid for 30 minutes.
After the chicken has simmered, remove it from the pot. It should be cooked through and easy to shred with a fork. Return the meat to the pot and discard the bones. That’s the boney carcass up on the top right of the cutting board.
Add the chicken base and stir to dissolve. Add the amount recommended for 6 cups of liquid; 2 Tbsp in this case.
Add the can of tomatoes with chiles
Chop 1/4 bunch of cilantro. The other 1/4 bunch noted in the ingredients will be used for garnish.
Juice one lime into the pot (the other will be garnish). Taste and adjust the seasoning to your liking.
Prepare the avocado, cilantro and lime for garnishes.
Serve each bowl of soup with garnishes (and chips if desired).
NOTE: If you have some corn or zucchini laying around, they would also make great additives to this soup. You can also experiment with cumin, cayenne pepper or chipotle chiles in adobo sauce.
If you can not find diced tomatoes with chiles, add a can of regular diced tomatoes (or even fresh) and a can of green chiles or a fresh jalapeno.