Embark on an invigorating culinary journey to the heart of South America with our robust Peruvian chicken soup recipe. This tantalizing dish, cherished by Peruvian households, brings together the vibrant flavors of Andean cuisine.
Harnessing the warmth of aromatic herbs, chili kick, and tender chicken and vegetable sustenance, this soup is a gastronomic passport to Peru. It’s not just a comforting meal but a cultural immersion in your kitchen, a delightful immersion into Peruvian heritage.
Perfect for chilly evenings, family gatherings, or when you need a boost of nourishment, this soup is your key to unlocking the secrets of Peru’s food traditions. Savor the flavor, relish the experience, and immerse yourself in the enchanting world of Peruvian cuisine, one spoonful at a time.
Experience the true essence of this Andean treasure with our step-by-step guide, making it effortless for home cooks to bring Peru to their tables.
What Is Peruvian Chicken Soup Recipe?
Peruvian chicken soup, also known as “Aguadito de Pollo,” is a vibrant, hearty dish native to Peru. The recipe is traditionally prepared with tender chunks of chicken, rice, peas, and corn, steeped in a broth flavored with cilantro, garlic, and a hint of chili pepper for some heat.
It’s a beloved comfort food renowned for its healing properties, often garnished with lime juice and accompanied by boiled potatoes. This wholesome soup promises a delightful, soothing meal, bringing the authentic tastes of Andean cuisine right to your bowl.
History Of Peruvian Chicken Soup Recipe
The origins of Peruvian chicken soup, Aguadito de Pollo, trace back to Peru’s vibrant culture and rich culinary traditions, heavily influenced by the Incas and Spanish colonizers.
Born out of the Andean region’s diverse ecosystem, this soup is an age-old cold remedy, much like chicken soups worldwide. The use of cilantro, native to the Mediterranean but fully embraced in Peruvian cuisine, characterizes the soup’s distinctive green hue.
With time, the recipe evolved, accommodating local preferences and ingredients. Today, Aguadito stands as a testament to Peru’s resilience and creativity, a symbol of the nation’s gastronomic heritage.
Interesting Facts About The Peruvian Chicken Soup Recipe
- Aguadito de Pollo translates to “chicken soup with a little water” in English, highlighting its nourishing, broth-based nature.
- Known as a ‘hangover cure’ in Peru, Aguadito is often served after lengthy celebrations to rejuvenate the body with its comforting warmth and nutrient-rich ingredients.
- The bright green hue of the soup comes from the generous use of cilantro, lending it its distinctive color and a unique, refreshing flavor.
- Every family in Peru has its own variation of Aguadito. Some might add quinoa or different types of meat, embodying the country’s diverse culinary landscape.
- Traditionally, it’s served with “aji amarillo,” a yellow Peruvian pepper, which adds a signature kick to the dish, demonstrating Peru’s love for spicy foods.
- Despite its humble origins, Aguadito has found its way into high-end Peruvian restaurants worldwide, proving its universal appeal and cultural significance.
What Makes The Peruvian Chicken Soup Recipe Special?
- Cultural Significance: Aguadito de Pollo holds a special place in Peruvian culture, traditionally served at family gatherings, and celebrations, and even as a revitalizing remedy after festive occasions.
- Unique Flavor Profile: The soup’s distinctive taste comes from its unique blend of ingredients. The cilantro lends an earthy flavor and vibrant color, while the chili peppers add a subtle heat.
- Versatility: It’s adaptable to personal preferences and dietary needs. One can add quinoa for extra protein, replace chicken with other meats, or make it vegetarian by using vegetable stock and veggies.
- Nutrient-Rich: It’s packed with nutrients from chicken, veggies, and herbs, making it a well-rounded meal that’s both comforting and nourishing.
- Medicinal Value: Like many chicken soup variants worldwide, it’s believed to have healing properties, often served to those feeling under the weather.
- Easy Preparation: Despite its complex flavors, the soup is surprisingly easy to prepare, making it a favorite among home cooks.
|Skinless, boneless chicken breast halves
|4 (cut in half)
|Seeded, minced serrano chile
|Red bell pepper
|Yukon Gold potatoes
|4 (cut in half)
|Uncooked white rice
- Chicken: Using bone-in chicken parts will yield a richer, more flavorful broth. You can also use leftover rotisserie chicken for a quicker option.
- Cilantro: Make sure to use fresh cilantro for the best flavor. If it’s unavailable, coriander can serve as a substitute, but the color and taste may vary slightly.
- Aji Amarillo Paste: This Peruvian chili paste adds a distinctive heat to the soup. If you can’t find it, you may use habanero or serrano peppers as alternatives.
- Rice: Short-grain rice is typically used in Aguadito. If you wish to add a nutritional punch, consider substituting it with quinoa.
- Vegetables: Fresh vegetables are key to the soup’s texture and flavor. You can experiment with the types of veggies according to seasonal availability and personal preference.
- Lime Juice: Always opt for fresh lime juice over bottled variants for an authentic zing.
- Stock: Homemade chicken stock is always best, but a high-quality store-bought stock can also work in a pinch.
- Seasoning: Don’t rush the seasoning process. Let the soup simmer to develop deep flavors. Adjust salt, pepper, and chili to taste.
Can You Vary The Recipe With Other Ingredients?
- Keto: Replace rice with cauliflower rice to reduce carbs and maintain the texture.
- Paleo: Use cauliflower rice instead of traditional rice, and ensure the chicken broth is paleo-friendly (no additives or sugars).
- Gluten-Free: This recipe is naturally gluten-free; ensure the chicken broth you use doesn’t contain any hidden gluten.
- Whole30: Replace the rice with a Whole30-compliant vegetable like diced sweet potatoes or zucchini.
- Vegetarian/Vegan: Replace the chicken with hearty veggies like bell peppers, carrots, zucchini, and mushrooms. Use vegetable broth instead of chicken broth. Add tofu or chickpeas for additional protein.
- Season chicken with salt and pepper.
- Heat olive oil in a large pot over medium-high heat.
- Add onion, garlic, and serrano chili; cook for 1 minute.
- Add the chicken; cook for 5 minutes.
- Stir in cilantro, peas, corn, and red pepper; cook for 1 minute.
- Pour in the chicken broth, potatoes, and rice.
- Bring to a boil; reduce heat to medium-low; simmer for 40 minutes until chicken is opaque and potatoes are tender. Serve hot.
Variations, Add-Ons, And Toppings
- Variations: Swap chicken with shrimp or tofu for a unique spin on the classic recipe. For a creamy twist, stir in a dash of coconut milk.
- Add-ons: Add diced avocado for a dose of healthy fats or quinoa instead of rice for an extra protein boost. Incorporate a medley of different vegetables for added nutrients.
- Toppings: Garnish with fresh chopped cilantro for an extra burst of flavor. Squeeze fresh lime juice over the soup just before serving to enhance its freshness.
- Spices: Experiment with different spices like cumin or paprika for an extra layer of complexity. Alternatively, add a dash of hot sauce for those who enjoy a spicier kick.
- Serving Suggestion: Serve alongside a fresh salad or warm, crusty bread to complete the meal. For a traditional touch, pair it with boiled cassava or plantains.
Scaling The Recipe
- Scaling Up: If you need to double the recipe, simply double all the ingredients. If your pot isn’t large enough to comfortably fit double the quantity, consider making two separate batches or using two pots. Ensure that the chicken and vegetables are fully submerged in the broth for even cooking.
- Scaling Down: If you’re cooking for fewer people and want to halve the recipe, reduce all the ingredients by half. Just make sure there’s enough liquid (broth) to cover the ingredients for a well-flavored soup.
What Is Used For Garnishing?
- Fresh Cilantro: A sprinkle of freshly chopped cilantro adds an extra burst of flavor and color to the soup. This herb is a key ingredient in the soup itself, so a little extra on top reinforces its unique flavor.
- Lime Wedges: A squeeze of fresh lime juice just before eating enhances the freshness and adds a tangy kick. Providing a few lime wedges on the side allows everyone to adjust the tanginess to their own preference.
- Sliced Chili Peppers: Thinly sliced fresh chili peppers make a perfect garnish for those who prefer a spicier soup.
Can I Make Peruvian Chicken Soup Recipe In A Slow Cooker Or Instant Pot?
- Season the chicken and sauté with onion, garlic, and serrano chili in a pan before adding to the slow cooker. This step is crucial for developing flavors.
- Add the rest of the ingredients (cilantro, peas, corn, red pepper, chicken broth, potatoes, and rice) to the slow cooker.
- Cover and cook on low for 6-8 hours or on high for 3-4 hours. Make sure the chicken is thoroughly cooked, and the potatoes are tender.
- Using the sauté function, follow the initial steps of the recipe (seasoning and sautéing the chicken with onion, garlic, and serrano chili).
- Add the remaining ingredients and secure the lid.
- Cook on manual high pressure for about 15 minutes, then allow the pressure to release naturally for about 10 minutes.
- After that, do a quick release of any remaining pressure. Ensure the chicken is cooked through and the potatoes are tender before serving.
Can I Use Store Bought Broth, Or Should I Make My Own?
You can absolutely use store-bought broth for making Peruvian chicken soup. It’s a great time-saver and offers a consistent flavor base for your soup. When buying, opt for a low-sodium version, which allows you to control the salt content better.
However, if you have the time and ingredients, making your chicken broth can add flavor and depth to your soup. Homemade broth allows for customization in terms of the vegetables, herbs, and seasonings you use, letting you achieve a more personalized flavor profile.
Can I Use Different Types Of Meat/Fish/Pasta/Vegetables For The Soup?
- Meat: Besides chicken, you can use turkey, duck, or even pork. Just adjust the cooking time accordingly to ensure the meat is thoroughly cooked.
- Fish/Seafood: You could replace chicken with fish or seafood like shrimp or mussels for a seafood Aguadito. Cook the seafood separately and add it towards the end of the cooking process to prevent it from becoming overcooked.
- Pasta: Instead of rice, you could use small pasta shapes like orzo or macaroni. Be mindful that pasta might soak up more broth, so you may need to add extra.
- Vegetables: Feel free to add or swap any vegetables according to what’s seasonal or available. Root vegetables like sweet potatoes, parsnips, or turnips would work well, as would leafy greens like kale or spinach added towards the end of the cooking time.
Success Tips-Tips And Tricks For Making The Recipe
Making soup is an art, and with a few tips and tricks, you can master it. Here are some prepping and cooking tips for perfect soup every time:
- Fresh Ingredients: Using fresh ingredients enhances the flavor of your soup. For Peruvian chicken soup, fresh cilantro, peas, corn, and pepper make a huge difference.
- Proper Seasoning: Season your meat before cooking. This helps enhance the meat’s flavor and adds depth to your soup.
- Prepare Ingredients: Chop all your vegetables and measure your ingredients before cooking to ensure a smooth cooking process.
- Sautéing: Sautéing your aromatics (onions, garlic, peppers) before adding other ingredients brings out their flavor and adds depth to the soup.
- Simmer, Don’t Boil: Let your soup simmer rather than boil once all ingredients are added. A slow simmer extracts flavors better than a rolling boil, particularly from meats and bones.
- Layering Flavors: Adding ingredients in stages can help develop flavors. For instance, add sturdy vegetables like potatoes earlier and delicate ones like peas later.
- Adjust Seasonings at the End: Always taste and adjust your seasoning towards the end of cooking. The flavors can change significantly during the cooking process.
- Cooking Time: Don’t rush. Allow enough time for the soup to cook and for the flavors to meld together.
- Using the Right Pot: A large, heavy-bottomed pot distributes heat evenly and keeps the soup at a steady simmer.
Immerse yourself in a bowl of Peruvian chicken soup, a hearty mix of protein-rich chicken, wholesome veggies, and nutritious grains. This delectable soup boasts an impressive nutritional profile, serving as a great source of vitamins, minerals, and fiber for a balanced meal. Let’s delve into the specifics of this nutritional powerhouse.
What Are Total Calories In The Soup?
The total calorie content of Peruvian chicken soup can vary depending on the exact recipe and ingredients used. On average, a bowl of Peruvian chicken soup contains about 300-350 calories. This includes chicken, rice, vegetables, and broth. Remember, adding additional toppings or ingredients will modify the calorie content accordingly.
Dietary Restrictions For The Peruvian Chicken Soup Recipe
- Vegetarian/Vegan: The soup uses chicken and chicken broth, making it unsuitable for vegetarians and vegans.
- Gluten-Free: The soup is typically gluten-free, using rice, not wheat-based products. However, always check the ingredients of store-bought chicken broth for hidden gluten sources.
- Low Carb/Keto: The rice and potatoes in the soup are high in carbohydrates and may not fit within low-carb or ketogenic dietary guidelines.
- Paleo/Whole30: The soup contains rice and peas, which are not compliant with Paleo or Whole30 diets.
- Allergies: People with allergies to ingredients like corn, garlic, or peppers should avoid the soup or modify the recipe accordingly.
Health Benefits Of The Peruvian Chicken Soup Recipe
- Rich in Protein: Chicken is an excellent source of lean protein, which is essential for muscle growth and repair.
- Boosts Immunity: The soup is packed with nutritious vegetables and chicken broth, which are known to bolster the immune system. The hot soup can also help clear nasal congestion.
- High in Fiber: The corn, peas, and potatoes in the soup contribute to a good amount of dietary fiber, which aids digestion and helps maintain a healthy weight.
- Provides Essential Vitamins and Minerals: Chicken is a good source of vitamins B6 and B12 and minerals such as zinc and selenium. Vegetables add vitamins A, C, and K and various antioxidants.
- Hydrating: The broth base makes this soup a hydrating meal, replenishing fluids and electrolytes, especially beneficial during cold and flu season.
- Low in Fat: This soup can be a low-fat meal option when made with skinless chicken pieces.
How Can I Make Peruvian Chicken Soup Recipe Lower In Sodium?
- Use Low-Sodium Broth: Opt for a low-sodium chicken broth or make your own at home, where you can control the amount of salt added.
- Reduce Added Salt: Limit the amount of added salt during the cooking process. You can still bring out the flavors with herbs, spices, and aromatics.
- Fresh Ingredients: Use fresh vegetables instead of canned ones, as canned vegetables often contain added sodium for preservation.
- Rinse Canned Ingredients: If you must use canned ingredients, rinse them thoroughly under water to wash away some of the added sodium.
- Mindful of Sauces/Condiments: Be aware that sauces or condiments added to the soup can be high in sodium. Opt for low-sodium versions or use them sparingly.
How Can I Make Peruvian Chicken Soup Recipe Lower In Sugar?
- Use Fresh Ingredients: Utilize fresh vegetables rather than canned ones. Canned vegetables can sometimes contain added sugars.
- Make Your Own Broth: If possible, prepare your own chicken broth to control what goes in it. Some store-bought broths may contain added sugars.
- Check Your Condiments: Be mindful of any condiments or sauces you add to your soup, as they can often have hidden sugars. Opt for no-sugar-added or low-sugar versions if available.
How To Serve Peruvian Chicken Soup Recipe In The Best Way?
- Presentation: Ladle the soup into a deep bowl, ensuring you get a good mix of chicken, vegetables, and broth. The vibrant green broth, interspersed with colorful vegetables and chicken, is visually appealing.
- Garnish: Finish with a sprinkle of chopped cilantro for added freshness and a wedge of lime on the side. The lime can be squeezed into the soup for a burst of tangy flavor.
- Accompaniment: Peruvian chicken soup is a complete meal on its own. However, it can be paired with a side of crusty bread or a light salad for a more filling meal.
- Heat: For those who prefer a bit more heat, serve with a side of sliced serrano chilies or a dash of hot sauce.
Perfect Side Dishes To Complement The Peruvian Chicken Soup Recipe
- Peruvian Rice: A side of traditional Peruvian rice can perfectly complement the soup, offering a delightful contrast in texture.
- Crusty Bread: A loaf of crusty bread is perfect for dipping into the rich, flavorful broth of the soup.
- Salad: A light, crisp salad with a tangy vinaigrette can balance the heartiness of the soup. A simple mixed green salad or a Peruvian-style salad with tomatoes, onions, and cilantro would pair well.
- Roasted Vegetables: A side of roasted vegetables can add a nice variety of texture and taste. Try Peruvian favorites like sweet potatoes or plantains.
- Causa Rellena: This traditional Peruvian dish of mashed yellow potatoes, lime, and aji pepper filled with avocado and chicken or tuna could provide a refreshing contrast.
How Long Can We Store The Soup?
Peruvian chicken soup can be safely stored in the refrigerator for 3-4 days. Make sure to cool the soup completely before transferring it to an airtight container to maintain the best quality.
For longer storage, you can also freeze the soup. Once cooled, place it in a freezer-safe container or heavy-duty freezer bag, and it should last for about 2-3 months.
When reheating, thaw overnight in the refrigerator if frozen, then heat on the stove until piping hot. Stir occasionally to ensure it heats evenly. For the best texture and flavor, consuming the soup as soon as possible after preparation is recommended.
Can I Make Soup In Advance?
Yes, Peruvian chicken soup can be made in advance, making it an excellent option for meal prep or for serving at gatherings where you want to have the cooking done beforehand.
Once prepared, you can let the soup cool completely, then store it in an airtight container in the refrigerator. It will keep well for 3-4 days.
If you’re making it more than a few days ahead, you can also freeze the soup. Make sure to cool it completely before transferring it to freezer-safe containers or bags. It should last for about 2-3 months in the freezer.
When you’re ready to serve, reheat the soup on the stovetop or microwave until it’s hot. If reheating from frozen, it’s best to let the soup thaw in the refrigerator overnight first.
What Can We Do With Leftovers?
- Rice Stir-Fry: Strain the leftover soup and use the vegetables and chicken to create a quick stir-fry. Mix it with some cooked rice for a hearty fried rice dish.
- Enchilada Filling: Shred the leftover chicken and combine it with vegetables to fill enchiladas or tacos.
- Chicken Salad: Use the leftover chicken to make a Peruvian-inspired chicken salad. Add some mayo, chopped cilantro, and lime juice.
- Omelet: Stir the leftover vegetables and chicken into an omelet for a savory breakfast or lunch.
- Chicken Pasta: Incorporate the leftover chicken and vegetables into a pasta dish. Toss it with some olive oil or light cream sauce.
- Soup Remix: Revive your leftover soup by adding new ingredients. Fresh veggies, pasta, or even a different type of protein can change it up.
Special Tools And Equipment Needed
- Soup Pot or Stock Pot: A large, heavy-bottomed pot is essential for making soup. It allows you to simmer and cook the ingredients evenly.
- Immersion Blender or Blender: If you like creamy soups or want to blend some of the ingredients, an immersion blender or regular blender can be handy for achieving the desired consistency.
- Fine-Mesh Strainer: This is useful if you want to strain the soup to remove any solids or achieve a smoother texture.
- Ladle: A ladle is essential for serving soup without making a mess.
- Soup Bowls: It’s nice to have proper bowls for serving the soup to your guests.
- Soup Spoons: Long-handled spoons are ideal for enjoying the soup comfortably.
- Cutting Board and Chef’s Knife: These are essential for chopping and preparing the ingredients.
- Vegetable Peeler: A vegetable peeler can be helpful if your recipe involves peeling vegetables like potatoes or carrots.
- Herb Infuser or Cheesecloth: If you want to add herbs and spices to the soup but don’t want them floating around, an herb infuser or cheesecloth can keep them contained.
- Thermometer: A kitchen thermometer ensures your soup reaches the desired temperature, especially when dealing with meat.
- Food Processor: While not a must-have, a food processor can help you chop vegetables quickly and evenly.
- Soup Tureen: If you’re serving soup for a special occasion or a larger gathering, a soup tureen can make a beautiful presentation.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can I Use Other Types Of Meat In This Peruvian Chicken Soup Recipe?
Absolutely. While chicken is traditionally used, you can experiment with other proteins like beef, lamb, or even seafood. Just adjust the cooking time accordingly to ensure your chosen protein is cooked properly.
I Don’t Like The Taste Of Cilantro. Can I Substitute It With Another Herb?
Cilantro gives this soup its unique flavor and vibrant color, but if you’re not a fan, you can substitute with flat-leaf parsley. It won’t taste the same, but will still be delicious.
Can I Make This Recipe Spicier?
Of course! You can add more serrano chili or even swap it for a hotter chili like habanero or ghost pepper. Just remember to add gradually and taste frequently to ensure it doesn’t become too hot for your preference.
Can I Add Other Vegetables To This Soup?
Yes, this soup is quite flexible. You can add other vegetables like bell peppers, zucchini, or even leafy greens like spinach or kale. Just ensure that any vegetables you add are cooked properly before serving.
Can I Use Store-Bought Rotisserie Chicken For This Recipe?
Yes, you can. Using rotisserie chicken can save time and add a depth of flavor to the soup. Just remove the skin and bones, shred the meat, and add it to the soup towards the end of the cooking process.
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