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October 09, 2005

Caldo Tlalpeño

Twisty is going in for surgery tomorrow, and I made a stray comment at her place about cooking her some caldo Tlalpeño to speed her convalescence.

And then I spent some time being a little sad that I couldn't actually cook Twisty some caldo Tlalpeño, what with her being in Austin and me in California and a total stranger besides.

And then I moved on from that to being sad that I hadn't eaten any caldo Tlalpeño since... ye gods, it's been eight years.

And so I went out to the store to buy some ingredients - I've found the best home cooking always includes ingredients, and lots of 'em - and the caldo Tlalpeño ingredients are now cooling in my controversial new kitchen.

Caldo Tlalpeño translates as "broth of Tlalpan." A Tlalpan is a large, extinct lizard in the magnolia family Tlalpan is a district of Mexico City. Its namesake soup involves chicken, chipotle peppers, and more chipotle peppers.

Here's how you make caldo Tlalpeño.

1) Start boiling some chicken stock, about a quart for every eight people you want to serve. Do not use the healthy kind with less salt. If possible, use stock from chickens that you knew personally.

2) Once it's boiling, add some chicken breasts to the stock, about one for every four people. Boil further until they're fully cooked. Remove and set aside to cool.

3) Fry a mess of chopped onions and garlic until they're translucent. Add exactly one point five messes chopped tomatoes to the frying pan. Canonical recipes involve peeling and seeding: let your conscience be your guide.

4) Find out that the can of chipotle peppers in adobo sauce on which you were relying, which has been sitting on your shelf since a Democrat was in the White House, and come to think of it you're not sure which Democrat, is bulging. Throw it away.

5) Find dried chipotles in the freezer. Rehydrate three dried chipotles in a stockpan with a cup of broth from the main pot.

6) Turn everything off and allow to cool.

7) Blend rehydrated chipotles with broth to a fine, caustic paste.

8) Add chipotle paste and tomato-garlic-onion mixture to broth in main pot. Return to flame. Boil for a while.

9) Shred cooled chicken breasts. Grab a pretty white onion and dice into near-identical cubes 5 millimeters on an edge. Slice an avocado for every four people into thin wedges. Slice up a bunch of queso anejo, or muenster cheese for that authentic Tex-Mex inauthenticity. Go out into the backyard and pick a few sprigs of epazote. Remember that you had intended to boil some dried chickpeas but never did. Open a can of chickpeas and rinse them. Start wishing you had a prep chef.

10) Optional: go back to step one and make some rice with cumin in it so that it will be available by now.

11) Put onions, avocado, cheese, some of the chickpeas, and a pile of yellow corn tortillas on a platter.

12) Put shredded chicken, optional rice, any other chopped vegetables like zucchini you might have lying around that you think you ought to use up, and some chickpeas in a bowl and cover them with hot broth. Garnish with lime, after remembering that you needed to cut up some lime wedges.

13) Invite your guests to garnish to taste with avocado, onion, optional rice, etc.

14) Apologize for forgetting to strain out the chipotle stems.

Enjoy! And kick some cancerous butt, Twisty, please.

Posted by Chris Clarke at October 9, 2005 07:05 PM TrackBack URL for this entry:

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excellent recipe! i could probably cook it if i found some chipoltes and corn tortillas. in fact, i've never seen a recipe so suited to my personal cooking style [i remember things as i go along, sometimes after the actual meal is consumed].

i stumbled to this site by some fluke, and from here found twisty's place. people near and dear to me have been in cancerland [one after another, with overlaps and in harmony] since 7/99. the things you posted for twisty were terrific.

thanks. and thanks.

Posted by: kathy a at October 9, 2005 09:02 PM
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How is your kitchen "controversial?" Is Ward Churchill now your personal chef?

Posted by: the_bone at October 9, 2005 09:47 PM
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The kitchen raised the ire of a commenter during the blogads/donations discussion.

Posted by: Chris Clarke at October 9, 2005 10:03 PM
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Yum. I was going to attempt some pork mole tacos tomorrow in Twisty's honor; I'll have to whip up some of this too, as it sounds awfully damn good.

Posted by: alphabitch at October 10, 2005 07:23 AM
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Yummy. I think it's worth stopping everything to run to the store and get the canned chipotles, though. Mmmm, that adobo. Totally worth a slight delay.

Posted by: Sara at October 10, 2005 08:45 AM
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It's not my kind of soup, but I love the recipe, and I'll join in sending good thoughts Twisty-wards.

Posted by: Rana at October 10, 2005 09:31 AM
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Damn your eyes, Clarke - now I'm starving!

(Thanks for the heads-up on Twisty. Sending encouraging vibes her way.)

Posted by: Space Kitty at October 10, 2005 09:00 PM
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hooray -- i made the caldo yesterday, and only forgot the limes and tortillas! what the hey, i remembered the rice, and got to use home-grown tomatos, plus some odds & ends. the 2 spicy fans at home had seconds, and the picky eater did pretty well, too.

Posted by: kathy a at October 11, 2005 02:19 PM
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