Drop Dead Awesome Chicken Soup with a Tico Twist...


My mother and grandmother taught me to make an incredible, New York style, Jewish chicken soup when I was a kid growing up in Miami.  Now that I'm a big boy, I have the opportunity to play with their recipe and (kinda sorta) make it my own. 

Living here in Costa Rica, where damn near anything grows, I get to amp up Mom's soup with some new spices like cumin, cilantro and red pepper.  While retaining the soup's New York roots, this new recipe gives it an encouraging kick in the ass.


  • 1 Pollo Grande (Large Chicken) - Use one whole chicken or enough bone-in parts to equal at least one chicken.  Estimate 2 kilos (4 1/2 pounds)

  • 3 medium Cebollas (Onions)

  • 3 Grande Zanahorias (Carrots)

  • 8 Apio (Celery stalks) trimmed stalks

  • 1 bunch Eneldo (Fresh Dill) - See tip below

  • 1 bunch Perejil Fresco (Fresh Parsley) - See tip below

  • OPTIONAL Other Herbs: Basil, Rosemary, Thyme

  • 2 tbs Sal (Salt)

  • 2 tbs Caldo de Pollo (Chicken bouillon) - I like the MAGGI Consomé de Pollo Concentrate

  • 1 tsp Pimienta roja molida (Crushed Red Pepper)

  • 1 tbs Comino (Cumin)

  • 1/2 cup Cilantro (finely chopped)

  • OPTIONAL: 1 bag of dry pasta (shells, curls etc.) 8.5 oz/250 gram

TIP: Place parsley and dill bunches together in cheese cloth and tie off with string.  This will release the flavors of the spices while cooking and make removal from the broth very easy when the soup is finished.


  • Clean and rinse your chicken removing all unnecessary fat

  • Using a large (mucho grande) soup pot with lid, place chicken into the pot and fill with water so that all of the chicken is completely covered by the water.  Personally, I like to add more water because that means I there will be more soup!

  • Add 2 tbs of SALT (preferably sea salt) and stir water to dissolve.

  • Heat on high until water boils, then lower to medium heat.

  • After a few minutes, a white foam begins to appear.  Using  a slotted spoon, remove and discard the foamy scum until it is gone or until the foam stops appearing.

  • ADD BAG OF FRESH HERBS & SPICES (see tip from above)

  • Cover the pot.  Reduce heat to low.  Let it simmer for about 90 minutes.


  • After the chicken has cooked for 90 minutes, remove the chicken from the pot and set it aside in a bowl.  After sitting a few minutes, return any soup which may have drained into the bowl back into the soup pot.

  • Place chicken in refrigerator for about 30 minutes and let it cool.

  • Remove bag of spices and set aside.  This will be returned to the soup pot shortly after the broth has been cleaned.

  • Using a second large soup pot and a fine strainer, pour the broth contents from one pot into another removing any chicken pieces which may remain in the soup pot.  I know it makes more of a mess but Fran says if I cook, she cleans.

  • Add the following to the chicken stock: chicken bouillon and cumin.  Whisk it until it the spices are completely dissolved.

  • Add the chopped veggies (onions, carrots, cilantro and celery) and red pepper to the stock and bring to a boil.

  • As soon as it boils, cover pot, reduce heat and simmer for another 90 minutes.

  • While the soup is cooking, take your cooled down chicken from the refrigerator and remove all usable chicken from the bones.  Discard the waste.

  • After the chicken and vegetables are cooked, remove and discard the bag of spices (parsley and dill). 

Now the ideal situation is to let the soup cool overnight in the refrigerator so you can skim any remaining fat.  But if you are really "jonesing" for some great soup, go ahead and have a bowl now.

But after you have a bowl, follow the rest of these instructions.  You'll be glad you did!


  • Remove veggies and place them in separate bowl. 

  • Return any liquid from the veggie bowl back to the soup pot. Refrigerate cooked veggies.

  • Place the pot of clear soup in the refrigerator and let it stand 18-24 hours.

  • After refrigeration, remove the soup pot and skim off any congealed fat which has floated to the surface.

  • Add the veggies and the chicken back to the stock.  Use as much or as little of the chicken as you desire.  I usually use half the chicken for the soup and the remaining half to make quesadillas or chicken salad.

  • OPTION:  Prepare pasta.  Cook pasta till it is almost done (just a slight hint of uncooked pasta in the center).  Drain and add pasta to your soup.

  • That’s all there is.  Since there are only two of us here, I freeze the soup (with veggies, chicken and pasta) into smaller size containers for quick and simple meal whenever the urge hits us!



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