The City Magazine Since 1975

Caldo Tlalpeño

November 2019
This heirloom recipe is a versatile, Mexican soup that can vary from household to household. Some add chickpeas, xoconostle (prickly pear), potato, or squash to the base and top their bowls with extra fixings such as fried tortilla strips, avocado, queso fresco, and crema. Abuela’s version is made fragrant with epazote, a Mexican soft herb, and served simply with tortillas on the side.
Rate This Recipe: 

1 lb. fresh tomatoes, cored and chopped
3/4 cup diced onion
5 garlic cloves
5 cups water, divided
2½ Tbs. canola oil
1/2 cup dry rice
4 chicken drumsticks, skin removed
1/2 lb. carrots, peeled and cut into quarters
1 lb. yellow potatoes, cut in half
2 lbs. husked corn, cut in half
3 Tbs. chipotle peppers in adobo sauce, plus more, if desired
1/2 cup fresh epazote leaves, available at the Coastal Carolina Flea Market in Ladson or Mexican grocery stores (or dried at Whole Foods)
Kosher salt to taste
8 corn tortillas, warmed
Lime wedges


In a blender or food processor, working in batches if necessary, blend the tomatoes, onion, and garlic cloves with three cups of the water. Strain and discard the pulp.

Combine the oil and strained tomato mixture in a medium pot over medium heat and simmer for 10 minutes without boiling. Add the rice, chicken, carrots, potatoes, corn, chipotle peppers, epazote leaves, and two cups of water. Add salt to taste. Increase the heat to medium-high and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low and simmer for 25 minutes.

Serve hot with warm tortillas and lime wedges. Add more chipotle peppers, if desired.