An Improvised Caldo Tlalpeño

I’ve mentioned Caldo Tlalpeño before. Diana Kennedy has a classic version in her seminal The Essential Cuisines of Mexico.I had some garbanzos and knew I needed to make it but I didn’t have the recipe handy. I’m sure Señora Kennedy would cringe, but here’s my version, based on memory and what was available.


In a soup pot, sauté onion and garlic in olive oil or lard. When soft, add chipotles in adobo to taste, but at least two. Then add garbanzo beans, shredded poached chicken, half a can of crushed tomatoes and chicken stock. Cook until all ingredients are warmed through. Add Mexican oregano and check salt.
Serve with lime wedges.

Please note: We’re at the end of the season for our garbanzos.

3 Comments on An Improvised Caldo Tlalpeño

  1. I love Caldo Tlalpeno! I have missed that one thing the most since I moved away from south Texas. I’m going to have to make some soon.

  2. Having consulted Sra. Kennedy’s “authoritative” text on the matter, you are pretty close. The only thing you are missing is carrots, green beans, epazote (a weed that I have been trying to eradicate from my property (unsuccessfully)) and avocado. My verdict: you pretty much nailed it. Also, since there is more than one way to make any classic dish, orthodoxy is, IMHO, completely verboten when it comes to matters such as this. The ultimate criteria: 1) is it yummy? 2) does it capture the essence of the dish?

    This offering would appear to achieve both. I will try both versions and perhaps expound on my results…somewhere…maybe here….whatever.

  3. I have squat-all knowledge of Mexican cooking, and won’t pretend otherwise. However, I loves me a good, flavorful bowl of soup, so took all the above noted ingredients, starting with Fatted Calf lard, and swapping out simple (cooked) dried cannelini beans for the chickpeas (just don’t love them), and went full-bore ahead. Added the Mexican oregano up top and put in a few generous squeezes of tomato paste for sweetness and body.
    Roasted half a chicken (yes, every butcher in the state, it seems, is happy to sell you half a bird) and shredded that up and added to the stew. Placed in serving bowls and garnished with fresh, chopped cilantro and a dollop of sour cream. Gooo-oood!!

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