This richly flavorful “caldo,” or soup, gets its color, flavor and heat from Serrano Chiles, along with a medley of aromatic spices. Dry-toasting Serrano Chiles is an important step, as it develops their slightly fruity flavor.

Prep time: 15 min

Cook time: 70 min

Total time: 85 min

Caldo Rojo
Copyright Recipe © 2015 Woodland Foods


Makes 8 servings


  1. Toast serrano chiles in batches in a dry skillet over medium heat, pressing down with a spatula to get good contact with the pan, about 30 seconds per chile.

  2. Soak chiles in a bowl and cover with hot water. Soak until softened, about 20 minutes. Drain liquid. Place in a blender with 2 cups chicken stock, and blend until smooth.

  3. Meanwhile, place remaining stock in a large saucepot, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and bring to a bare simmer. Add chicken breast. Poach until done. Transfer to a plate, reserving stock. When cool enough to handle, shred.

  4. Heat vegetable oil in a large stockpot over medium-high heat. Add carrot, onion and garlic, and sauté until slightly softened, about 3 minutes.

  5. Add reserved chile puree, and sauté, stirring continually with a heat-proof spatula, until puree thickens slightly and turns a shade darker.

  6. Add spices, tomatoes, zucchini and reserved stock. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer uncovered for 15 minutes. Remove bay leaf and cinnamon stick.

  7. Add shredded chicken to soup. Serve with cabbage, radishes, lime wedges and diced avocado to garnish.