This is a traditional Peruvian soup I learned to make many years ago after I moved to Peru. I have made it with chicken as well as with turkey, and both versions turned out wonderfully. I like to make the version below during chilly winter months here in Lima.
I love the beautiful color of this soup that can be created by adding cilantro. If you do not like cilantro, this soup is probably not for you.
There are MANY variations of this soup. Aguadito de Pavo (turkey) is very popular around the Christmas holidays here. During the holidays, I remove all the meat from the turkey, shred it, and set the meat aside. I put the turkey carcass into a large soup pot along with the water and vegetables. If you want to save time, buy a whole cooked rotisserie chicken and remove all the meat from the carcass and shred the chicken meat to add into the soup later. My recipe version below is more time consuming and rustic, but also more homemade.
Aguadito de Pollo
Makes 8 to 10 servings
- 1 large chicken or 8 chicken pieces
- ½ cup vegetable oil
- 2 garlic cloves
- 1 cup diced onion
- 2 teaspoons ground cumin
- 1 large bunch fresh cilantro, about ½ to ¾ cup chopped
- ¾ cup peas
- fresh Aji Amarillo liquified (to taste)
- 1 tablespoon paprika
- ½ cup of dark beer (I have also used pisco instead of beer)
- 4 medium yellow potatoes
- 1 cup white rice
- 1 red bell pepper, cut into strips
- 1 small leek
- 6 celery stalks
- 6 ½ cups chicken broth or stock
- Salt & Pepper to taste
- Clean the whole chicken. Cut into pieces.
- For the broth, boil over low heat and covered for 1 ¼ hours in a large pot: 10 cups of water, 2 tablespoons of salt, the head, legs and spine of the chicken, leek and celery stalks. Strain broth and discard the rest. Set the broth to the side.
- Season (salt and pepper) the chicken pieces and brown them in hot oil in a sauté pan. Remove.
- In the same oil, fry the crushed garlic cloves, the chopped onion and the aji amarillo pepper. Cook a few minutes. Add the fresh cilantro and ground cumin along with ½ to 1 cup chicken broth. Transfer all into a blender and purée for about 1 minute until the mixture is smooth. Transfer this puréed mixture back into the large soup pot.
- Add the remaining broth and black beer to the soup pot. Bring to a boil and then add the peas and the bell pepper.
- Turn the heat down to low and add the rice and the browned chicken pieces to the soup pot. Simmer for 15 minutes.
- After 10 minutes add the peeled and halved yellow potatoes. Continue coming over low heat with the lid on the pot. Once the potatoes are just tender (about 5 to 10 minutes), the soup is ready to serve.
- If the soup becomes too thick, add more broth or water. It should be with a watery consistency, almost like a thick soup.
- This soup should be served immediately. I like to garnish it with liberal squeezes of lime and fresh cilantro leaves.
Cover photo: Aguadito de pollo/Gimme some Oven