Peruvian-Style Chicken Soup with Saucí Verde

Mick Follari

Yield: 6-8 servings

Time: about 15 minutes prepping with 30 minutes in the middle for cooking.

This simple Peruvian-style soup is full of flavor and warmth, deeply satisfying but not overfilling, and delicious any time of the year. Variations abound, you can easily play with the types of potatoes and vegetables. Have fun with it!

Soups like this are almost like cheating… it’s like a hearty plate of food served in a bowl. I found a recipe for a soup similar to this in a magazine but immediately saw some substitutions and an opportunity to use Saucí Verde to save on the otherwise-required blender work. It’s easy to make, fills your kitchen with wonderful smells, and is sure to bring smiles to everyone at the table. This version was mild, but you can adjust the spiciness by adding or subtracting the crushed red pepper amount, or even add some diced jalapeño. With anywhere from 3,000-4,000 kinds of potatoes native to Peru, the variety you can play with is wide open.

Vegetarian/Vegan: you could easily leave out the chicken, replacing it with more/other potatoes or root vegetables, and you could substitute the chicken broth for your favorite vegetable broth.

I love the avocado and cilantro leaf finish, I have been known to top it with some shredded cheese, and one could certainly serve it with tortilla chips on the side.

P.S. I used a homemade broth for this. About a week ago, we had a rotisserie chicken from our local healthy market. After carving that for dinner I added the bones, skin and other parts along with 2 celery stalks, 1/2 an onion, 2 cloves of garlic, 1 large carrot and some thyme to about 1-1/2 or 2 quarts of water in a large pot. I simmered that for about 4 hours, then strained the broth through a mesh strainer, and put the broth in a couple large Mason jars in the fridge until I needed it.

Ingredients:

  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 large yellow onion, chopped
  • 1 red bell pepper chopped
  • ½ tsp ground cumin
  • ¼ tsp crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1½ – 2 lb chicken thigh or breast
  • 1-½ qt chicken broth
  • 2 sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into small cubes
  • 2 large carrots, finely chopped
  • 1 tsp salt
  • ¼ tsp fresh ground pepper
  • 3 scallions, chopped
  • 1 cup frozen peas (optional)
  • 3-4 tbsp Saucí Verde
  • Avocado (cubed for topping)
  • Cilantro leaves (garnish)

Preparation:

  1. Heat 2 tbsp olive oil in a large pot over medium heat.
  2. Add the diced onion and red pepper. Cook, stirring often until the onion softens, about 4 minutes.
  3. Stir in the cumin and red pepper flakes, and continue to stir until fragrant, about 3 minutes.
  4. Add the chicken, the broth, the sweet potatoes, carrots, salt and black pepper and bring to a boil.
  5. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer until the chicken is cooked and the sweet potatoes soft, about 30 minutes.
  6. Remove the chicken to a cutting board and use two forks to shred it. Then return the chicken to the pot, and add the scallions and frozen peas (if using).
  7. Warm it up, 2-3 minutes, then stir in 4 tbsp Saucí Verde.
  8. Serve in bowls with some cubed avocado and cilantro leaves, or other toppings.