As E., from a village near Uspantan, Guatemala, taught Lindsay Sterling in Freeport, Maine. Photo by Lindsay Sterling.
Note: My Guatemalan friends ate this soup with thick, fresh homemade tortillas and a spicy tomato mash.
Cooking time: 1-2 hours
- 1 large whole free range chicken, cut into 2-3inch, bone-in pieces
- enough water to cover the chicken by 3-4 inches
- 3 Tbsp salt
- 6 medium potatoes, peeled and quartered
- 2 chayote squash, peeled and quartered
- 2 tomatoes, quartered + 2 whole tomatoes
- 1 lb. carrots, peeled, quartered lengthwise and cut into 3" segments
- 4 culantro leaves (he called it samate) or small handful cilantro leaves, rough chopped
- small bunch of fresh mint, leaves picked and roughly chopped
- small bunch of fresh parsley, leaves picked and roughly chopped
- 2 Tbsp chicken bouillon + 1 Tbsp as desired
- 2 fresh hot chili peppers of your choice
- 1 lime
- 16-20 thick, handmade tortillas (substitute corn bread or bread)
1. If you are handmaking the tortillas, start by making the dough first. Once it's resting, then get the soup started.
2. In a large pot cover the chicken pieces with water by 3-4 inches, add salt, 2 Tbsp chicken bouillon and boil until chicken is cooked (opaque throughout). While that's cooking, if you are making your tortillas from scratch, this would be a good time to make them.
3. Once the chicken is cooked, then add potatoes, squash, carrots, and the 2 quartered tomatoes to the soup pot.
4. While those are cooking, in a separate pot boil the two whole tomatoes and 2 whole fresh chili peppers until the chili peppers are soft. Peel skin off tomatoes and roughly chop chili peppers and then mash the tomatoes and peppers together in a mortal and pestle.
5. When vegetables in the soup are tender, add all the chopped herbs (culantro/cilantro, mint, and parsley). Taste. If you think it needs it, add 1 Tbsp bouillon to enhance flavor. Serve bowls of soup with a basket of warm, thick tortillas, a bowl of lime wedges, and a bowl of the chili-tomato mash for guests to add to add spice their soup as desired.