Originally posted February 5, 2014. Updated May 2015.
My dad loves soup. No matter the season, no matter the weather, no matter the occasion (or lack thereof), I’ve never known my dad to turn down a big, steamy bowl of soup. It was hard for me to understand why he liked it so much, especially during our intensely hot summer months down here in southern Arizona! I’d be munching on a cool, crisp salad then look over quizzically at my dad as he’d carefully bring each spoonful of soup toward his mouth, blow on it, then slowly eat while the fog from the steamy broth gradually dissipated from his eye glasses. As a bystander, he could make any bowl of soup look like the most delicious food you could eat.
As I got older and started experimenting with foods and flavors outside of my naive culinary “bubble,” I gained an appreciation for the beauty and comfort and experience of enjoying a big, steamy bowl of really good soup. I began to understand its appeal and why Dad always picked “soup” over “salad,” when given the choice. So, every time I’d try a soup I loved at a restaurant or nailed a recipe I’d find in a magazine or cooking show, I’d think of Dad. Better yet, I’d call him up and tell him all about it…sometimes, I still do:
“Dad, I made this soup the other day and I think you’d like it…”
Caldo de Pollo is directly translated as “Soup of Chicken.” No matter what you call it, chicken soup is like a bowl full of comfort. For centuries, mothers and grandmothers around the world have been serving their own versions of chicken soup to their families for nourishment, sustainability, comfort, and most of all, love. According to a report from the U.S. National Library of Medicine, chicken soup has been a home remedy for the common cold as far back as the 12th century! Although it isn’t a scientifically proven cure for any illness, the steam can help clear congested airways, the broth is hydrating and the combination of vegetables delivers a healthy dose of vitamins and antioxidants that can help speed up the healing process. Best of all, chicken soup tastes good
(I found this January 2014 article from Huffington Post Living, Canada full of fun facts about chicken soup!)
When I cook this soup, the aroma from the vegetables, chicken and dry seasonings fills our home and with it comes good feelings and happy memories. It’s a food that posesses the ability to lift our spirits when we’re feeling sick, depressed, stressed out or simply in need of a little extra love. I certainly don’t claim to possess the best chicken soup recipe, but it’s one that I love making for my family…especially for Dad.
Caldo de Pollo (Chicken Soup)
Recipe by Christy Wilson
Prep time: 15 minutes
Cook time: 25 minutes
- 2 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil
- 4 carrots, sliced
- 3 stalks celery, sliced
- 1 cup onion, diced
- 2 cloves garlic, diced and mashed with knife
- 2 cups mushrooms, chopped
- 6 cups (1 ½, 32 ounce boxes) of low sodium chicken stock or broth
- 2 cups water
- 3 cups cooked chicken, shredded or roughly chopped (I use leftover baked chicken or store bought rotisserie chicken)
- 1 cup dry whole wheat “wide” noodles (like egg noodles)
- ¼ teaspoon season salt
- ½ teaspoon garlic powder
- ½ teaspoon onion powder
- ½ teaspoon whole dried oregano, smashed in palm of your hand
- ¼ teaspoon ground cumin
- ½ teaspoon ground pepper
- Heat oil in a large soup pot. Add carrots, celery and onion and sauté for a few minutes then add chopped mushrooms and garlic to vegetable mixture. Stir to combine. Cook for about a minute to allow flavors to blend and vegetable to soften.
- Add broth and water to the pot then turn heat to high. When broth begins to simmer, stir in chicken and pasta then lower heat to medium low. Cover pot and allow soup to simmer for about 8 minutes, or until noodles are tender. Stir in season salt, garlic and onion powders, oregano, cumin and pepper. Adjust seasonings to taste.
- Ladle soup into bowls and serve.
Approximate Nutrition Facts, per serving:
Calories: 157; Total fat: 5.1grams; Saturated fat: 1.2 grams; Polyunsaturated fat: 1 gram; Monounsaturated fat: 2.2 grams; Protein: 17 grams; Carbohydrate: 11 grams; Dietary fiber: 2 grams; Sugar: 4 grams; Cholesterol: 46 grams; Sodium: 576mg; Iron: 1 mg; Calcium: 18 mg; Folic acid: 30 micrograms