Caldo de Gallina (Peruvian Hen Soup)

Photo: Jennifer Causey

Active time 20 mins
Total time 5 hrs, 40 mins

Serves 10 (serving size: about 1 1/2 cups)

A corner of Cusco's San Pedro Market is devoted to open kitchens where Quechua women make this soup with new crop potatoes and tough old stewing hens, which can stand up to the long simmering time better than young chickens. We find that widely available roasting hens--older than broilers and fryers--work just fine, growing tender and succulent after hours of stewing. The lime-herb-chile garnish makes the dish sing with flavor.


  • 6 qt. cold water
  • 1 (6-lb.) roasting hen, quartered
  • 4 carrots, peeled and chopped
  • 2 celery stalks, trimmed and chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1 large leek, washed and chopped
  • 1 (1-in.) piece ginger, peeled and minced
  • 6 medium Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled and finely chopped
  • 8 ounces dried egg noodles (such as kluski)
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh chives
  • 1 fresh red Fresno chile, thinly sliced
  • 10 fresh lime quarters

Nutrition Information

  • calories 322
  • fat 7.3 g
  • satfat 2.1 g
  • monofat 2.2 g
  • polyfat 1.4 g
  • protein 29 g
  • carbohydrate 34 g
  • fiber 4 g
  • cholesterol 101 mg
  • iron 2 mg
  • sodium 583 mg
  • calcium 40 mg
  • sugars 3 g
  • Est. Added Sugars 0 g

How to Make It

  1. Combine first 7 ingredients in a large stockpot or Dutch oven. Bring to a boil over high; reduce heat to medium-low, and simmer 5 hours, skimming froth from surface as necessary. (Add cold water as necessary if soup reduces too much during simmering.)

  2. Remove chicken quarters from pan with tongs; place quarters on a plate. Cool 10 minutes. Pull meat from bones, shredding into bite-size pieces. Discard skin.

  3. Add potatoes to pan. Bring to a boil over medium-high; cook 10 minutes. Stir in egg noodles; cook 10 minutes or until potatoes are tender and noodles are al dente. Stir in shredded chicken and salt. Top each serving with cilantro, chives, and chile; serve with lime.

Far Afield by Shane Mitchell (Ten Speed Press) copyright 2016.