Dancing in the Kitchen with Garlic: Caldo con Ajo (Garlic Soup)

Experience the amazing allure of Allium sativum for yourself.

| April/May 2004

Serves 4 to 6
I ordered this soup on a trip to Mexico and fell in love with it. Although I didn’t get the recipe, I came up with an approximation of it on my own. This is one of those soups that changes every time I prepare it, according to what ingredients I have in the house and whether my daughter, who is a vegetarian, is visiting. It’s also one of those soups that seems to grow and grow, so it’s great to serve for company. The chicken is optional. If you have any soup left over, you’ll be happy to discover it’s even better after the flavors have had time to introduce themselves and share a bit of their personal history for a day or two.

  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 5 or more fresh mushrooms, sliced
  • Olive or other vegetable oil, enough to cover bottom of a large saucepan
  • 2 chicken breasts, cubed (or other chicken on hand)
  • 1 head garlic, minced (less if you’re not a huge garlic fan)
  • Chile powder or red chile flakes, to taste
  • Oregano and cumin, to taste (or cilantro if you prefer)
  • 2 to 3 cups chicken or vegetable broth
  • 3 carrots, julienned
  • 2 cups cooked beans (black, kidney or garbanzo)
  • 1 can (14.5 ounces) stewed tomatoes, chopped (I like the ones with jalapeño)
  • 1 to 2 limes
  • 2 ripe avocados, cubed
  • Tortilla chips
  • Lime wedges
  1. Sauté onions and mushrooms in hot oil. Brown chicken. Add garlic and spices.
  2. Pour in broth; add carrots, beans and tomatoes. After ingredients are piping hot and the meat is thoroughly cooked, squeeze in juice of one lime (I like it really limey, so I at least double this). Add avocados and stir for a moment.
  3. Pour over tortilla chips and, just before serving, squeeze a wedge or two of lime over each bowl. I serve with warm corn tortillas with butter.

K.C. Compton is editor in chief of The Herb Companion and loves experimenting with garlic in any recipe she can.

Click here for the original article, Dancing in the Kitchen with Garlic .

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