Caldo Tlalpeno


  • 1 dried chipotle chile
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 2 or 3 Roma tomatoes, roughly chopped
  • 1 small onion, peeled and quartered
  • 1 clove garlic, peeled
  • 1/2 cup cold water
  • 6 whole skinless chicken thighs
  • 1 potato, peeled and cut into bite-size pieces
  • 1 chayote squash, unpeeled, cut into bite-size pieces
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 small zucchini, cut into bite-size pieces
  • 1 cup chopped green beans
  • 1 cup green peas (thawed if frozen)
  • 3 small Key limes, halved
  • Extra salt to taste
  • Canned chipotle chiles or hot sauce to taste


  1. Heat the oil in a soup pot over medium-low heat and add the chipotle chile.
  2. Fry the chile slowly, turning it over often in the oil until it is softened and puffed up. The oil should not be too hot or the chile will burn.
  3. Meanwhile, place the tomato, onion, garlic and cold water in a blender and whirl until pureed.
  4. When the chipotle chile is softened, add the puree to the pan, increase the heat and "fry" the mixture until it changes color. Add the chicken to the pot, along with more water (about 2 cups), the cubed potato, chayote squash and salt. Cover the pot and simmer the soup for 20 to 30 minutes, until the chicken is cooked.
  5. Add the zucchini, beans and green peas to the pot and cook 10 minutes longer, until the squash is tender.
  6. Remove the chipotle from the pot, mince and return it to the soup. Heat through and season to taste with more salt and pepper, and more chiles. Place a chicken thigh in the bottom of each bowl and ladle some of the vegetables and broth over top. Squeeze some fresh lime juice each bowl.

Serves 4 to 6.