Peruvian Chicken, Rice and Cilantro Soup - Copykat Chat Forums


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Peruvian Chicken, Rice and Cilantro Soup

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  • Peruvian Chicken, Rice and Cilantro Soup


    1 tablespoon grapeseed or other neutral oil
    4 medium garlic cloves, minced (3 cloves)
    1 medium white onion, finely chopped (1/2 onion)
    1 bunch fresh cilantro, stems minced, leaves left whole, reserved separately (half a large bunch)
    ¼ cup aji amarillo paste (2 Tbsp)
    Kosher salt and ground black pepper
    1½ pounds bone-in, skin-on chicken breasts, thighs or legs (I used 14 oz thighs)
    1 cup long-grain white rice, rinsed and drained (1/2 cup)
    3 medium carrots, peeled and cut crosswise into ½-inch pieces (I used 2)
    1 medium red or yellow bell pepper, stemmed and cut into ½-inch pieces (I used 1/2 red bell pepper)
    1 cup frozen peas (1/2 cup)
    2 tablespoons lime juice (I ended up using the full amount)


    In a large pot over medium-high heat the oil until shimmering. Add the garlic, onion, cilantro stems, aji amarillo paste and 2 teaspoons salt. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the paste begins to brown on the bottom of the pot, about 8 minutes. Add 7 cups water and bring to a simmer, scraping up the browned bits. Add the chicken in an even layer, then return to a simmer. Cover and cook, adjusting heat to maintain a simmer, until a fork inserted at the thickest part of the meat meets no resistance, about 40 minutes. Transfer the chicken to a plate and set aside until cool enough to handle.

    In a blender, combine the cilantro leaves, a pinch of salt and ⅓ cup water. Blend, scraping the sides as needed, until smooth, about 1 minute. You should have about ½ cup puree. Set aside.

    To the pot, stir in the rice, carrots, bell pepper, and ½ teaspoon each salt and pepper. Bring to a simmer over medium-high, then cover, reduce to low and cook without strring until the rice and vegetables are tender, about 10 minutes. Meanwhile, shred the chicken into bite-size pieces, discarding the skin and bones.

    When the rice and vegetables are tender, stir the shredded chicken and peas into the soup. Cook until the peas are heated through, about 1 minute. Off-heat, stir in the cilantro puree and lime juice, then taste and season with salt and pepper.

    This soup is fresh and vibrant in both flavor and color. The broth is green and herbaceous with cilantro, while carrots, bell pepper and peas add brightly hued bursts of vegetable sweetness. Traditional aquadito includes starchy Peruvian corn. Rather than substitute sweet corn, which is far more sugary, we opted to omit it. The soup gets mild spiciness from ají amarillo, an orange-yellow chili with a fruity yet earthy flavor that is ubiquitous in Peruvian cuisine. In fresh form, the chilies are difficult to find in the U.S., but ají amarillo paste, sold in jars, is available in some well-stocked markets and specialty stores, as well as online. If you can't find it, use 2 or 3 seeded and finely minced jalapeños.

    Don't use boneless, skinless chicken parts in this soup. Both the bones and skin give the broth rich flavor as well as a little body. Don't make this soup in advance; it's best served right away. As it sits, the rice continues to absorb liquid and eventually becomes mushy.

    Charlene’s notes 3-17-2023: I made a half recipe, reduced amounts are in parentheses. Holy cow this was delicious, just what I was looking for! Very similar to the soup served at El Pollo Inka. It’s time consuming but worth it. I ordered the ahi Amarillo paste from Amazon. Don’t be afraid of the hot description, I didn’t find it hot. Recipe is from Milk Street email.