Aguadito. Aguadito. While waiting for my order of 1/4 Peruvian roast chicken and two sides at Pollo Mania - El Monte, I wondered what was in this lovely green soup. I would have ordered it, but I had a coupon for the chicken you see, and well, I can't let the coupon go to waste. Ordering chicken, two sides, and a big container of soup was too much, even if it was for the blog.
So I got home and Googled and found out that it was basically a chicken soup with potatoes, rice, and peas and pureed cilantro. Ooooh. If you're a cilantro lover, you'll know what I mean. At the time, I didn't have any chicken or potatoes on hand, so I made an Aguadito-ish Vegetable Soup and added pureed cilantro and it was lovely. Loooovely.
Later, I made a proper aguadito de pollo (Peruvian chicken soup) and the recipe just needed the perfect opportunity to shine. Something like Weekend Wokking - the CILANTRO edition! Umm, yes, I know I'm tardy, but if I can't sneak a recipe into my own blogging event, then when can I? :P Darlene of Blazing Hot Wok graciously took on the task at the last minute with 9 cilantro recipes (once she adds mine ;P ).
Cilantro is one of those controversial herbs. It seems people either love it or hate it, there's no in between. Obviously, you can tell which side I fall. I've read that this might be genetic, that cilantro-haters think it tastes soapy and metallic? It just tastes green to me. If you don't like cilantro, I just can't help you there.
Aguadito de Pollo (Peruvian Chicken Soup)
For a 3-quart pot, you'll need:
2 chicken thighs or breasts
1 cup white rice
3 large potatoes
1 small onion
1 bunch cilantro
3 cloves garlic
1/2 cup frozen peas
1 tsp salt, or more to taste
Optional: Squeeze at bit of lime at the end.
Fill a 5-quart stock pot about 3/4-full of water. When the water boils, add the chicken pieces and about 1 tsp salt. When the water boils again, skim the scum and turn the temperature to medium-high for about half an hour. Keep the broth at a low boil. The high heat will extract flavor from the bones and produce a quick and flavorful broth.
Meanwhile, prepare the rest of the ingredients. Peel the potatoes and cut them into 1-inch chunks. Set them aside in a bowl of salted water so the potatoes don't brown.
Puree 1 small onion, 1 bunch cilantro with stems too, and 3 cloves garlic. Oooh, look at that lovely green.
When the broth is ready, remove the chicken from the pot and set aside. Drain the potatoes and add them to the pot along with 1 cup of rice. Shred the chicken off the bones and put that back into the pot as well. Let simmer for about 20 minutes on medium-low heat.
When the rice is almost fully-cooked and the potatoes have sufficiently softened, add the cilantro paste and 1/2 cup frozen peas. Taste and add salt if necessary. Stir and cover the pot for another 5 minutes or so for the flavors to meld. If the pureed onions still taste too strong, let the broth simmer for a few more minutes.
It's hard to describe what happens when cilantro is pureed and infuses this simple chicken broth. It's just so comforting and addictive.
The cilantro will turn darker on subsequent re-heatings, but it'll still taste just as good.
Serve with some lime wedges to squeeze into the soup if you'd like.
I'm submitting this recipe to Weekend Wokking, a world-wide food blogging event created by Wandering Chopsticks to celebrate the multiple ways we can cook one ingredient. This month's secret ingredient is CILANTRO.
The host this month is Darlene of Blazing Hot Wok. Check her blog for 9 cilantro recipes. If you'd like to participate or to see the secret ingredient, check who's hosting next month.
My other cilantro recipes:
Aji Verde (Peruvian Green Chili Sauce)
Chicken Pot Pie with Cilantro Biscuits
Chicken Tortilla Soup
Frijoles Negros (Cuban Black Beans)
Kefta Kebabs (Middle Eastern Ground Meat Kebabs)
Salsa Verde with Roasted Tomatillos
1 year ago today, Mi Xao Don Thit Bo (Vietnamese Crispy Chow Mein with Beef).
2 years ago today, Sauteed Squash Blossoms.