Colombian Chicken Soup

  • Level: Easy
  • Total: 2 hr 30 min
  • Prep: 20 min
  • Inactive: 10 min
  • Cook: 2 hr
  • Yield: 6 first-course servings
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1 chicken, 3 1/2 to 4 pounds, skinned and cut into 8 pieces, plus 1 whole chicken breast, skinned and cut in 1/2

1 medium onion, quartered

2 medium carrots, cut into 4 pieces

1 medium rib celery, cut into 4 pieces

1 bay leaf

3 cloves garlic, pressed or minced

1/2 bunch fresh cilantro, stems only (leaves reserved for soup)

For the soup:

1 medium onion, finely chopped

3 medium carrots, peeled and finely chopped

1 medium rib celery, finely chopped

2 pounds baking potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch cubes

1 lemon or lime, juiced

2 cloves garlic, minced

1/4 teaspoon Bijol (available at Spanish grocery stores) or a pinch each of ground cumin and saffron threads

For the salsa:

1 large very ripe tomato, halved, seeded, and finely chopped

1 scallion, finely chopped

1 clove garlic, crushed and mashed into a paste with 1/4 teaspoon salt

1/2 bunch cilantro, leaves only, finely chopped

2 scallions, finely chopped

3 tablespoons olive oil

1/2 lemon or lime, juiced

1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and very finely minced

2 tablespoons minced cilantro leaves



  1. Combine all the ingredients for the stock in a large soup pot and cover with cold water. Bring to a boil over high heat, then reduce the heat to low and simmer uncovered for 1 1/2 to 2 hours, skimming any foam from the top of the stock as it simmers, until the chicken is fall-from-the-bone tender. Add water, as necessary, to keep the stock ingredients covered.
  2. Strain the stock through a fine mesh sieve, discarding everything except the boiled chicken, and return the stock to the rinsed-out pot. Remove the chicken from the bones and shred into small pieces. Set aside.
  3. Add the onion, carrots, celery, and potatoes to the stock and simmer 20 to 30 minutes, or until the potatoes are tender.
  4. While the soup is simmering, combine the lemon or lime juice, garlic, cilantro leaves, scallions, oil, Bijol, and a tablespoon of the soup broth in a small bowl and mash into a paste with a fork.
  5. Also while the soup is simmering, prepare the salsa by combining all ingredients in a glass or stainless steel bowl and mixing well. Season, to taste, with salt just before serving.
  6. When the potatoes are tender, add the reserved chicken and seasoning paste to the soup and stir well to combine. Allow the soup to return to a simmer, then remove from the heat, and let sit, covered, 10 minutes before serving. Serve garnished with a spoonful of the salsa.