This cilantro chicken soup is inspired by a Peruvian dish called Aguadito De Pollo. It's incredibly bright and flavourful, perfect on a cold winter day when you're dreaming of spring. The cilantro shines bright in this dish, and the combination of textures we're going to use really brings the whole dish to life.
The Inspiration behind this Dish
Aguadito de Pollo is a Peruvian chicken soup. It traditionally includes chicken, rice, and tons of bright and fun flavours to make regular chicken soup a little more exciting. This includes lime, cilantro and chili peppers. And, you also cook the soup in two separate parts - adding the aromatics and spice at the very last minute to keep those flavours fresh (see below). Note: this is NOT an authentic recipe for Aguadito de Pollo - if you're looking for that, try someone like Eat Peru's recipe!
Is Cilantro Good in Chicken Soup?
Um, how do I put this. YES. 1000 times YES. Cilantro's bright and fresh flavour make it an excellent combo with the savory flavour of the chicken. Pair this with the lime, and you've got a flavourful soup that's going to make you feel like summer is coming in the middle of January.
How to add Cilantro to Chicken Soup
There are actually a few ways to do this, but my preferred method is to blend it up, giving the entire soup a cilantro bath, and also turning it the most beautiful shade of green. If you want to, you can totally just add cilantro as an herb at the end, just like you would with parsley in any other chicken soup.
For the blender method, we're going to sauté garlic, onions, and optional diced jalapeño pepper until all the ingredients are soft. Then, we're going to transfer them to the blender, add a huge bunch of cilantro, a little chicken broth to loosen it up, and blitz the crap out of it. We'll add this mixture back to the soup at the end so it keeps that bright, beautiful flavour and color.
Making your own Chicken Broth
Making your own chicken broth is a sure-fire way to take your soup recipes from good to gourmet. It's surprisingly easy, freezes well, and is incredibly delicious, but it does take a little planning. Find my guide to learn how to make homemade chicken broth here.
We've already talked a lot about the flavours in this soup (and how good to they sound, by the way. For cilantro chicken soup, here's the rest of your grocery list:
- Cooked, shredded chicken (rotisserie from the grocery store works great for this recipe)
- Chicken broth (homemade or store-bought)
- Jalapeno or poblano peppers (optional)
- Baby potatoes
- Avocado (garnish)
- Cheese (garnish)
- Sour cream (garnish)
And that's basically it!
This is a great soup to play with. We're going to use chicken and potatoes as the main ingredients, but you can absolutely make it spicy by adding jalapeño or poblano peppers to the mix when you sauté your onions and garlic. You can also take the cilantro flavour up or down, depending on what you're looking for. AND, make sure you experiment with the level of lime you add! Some people love tons and it being super tart. I'm not quite at that point - but season according to your taste and what you like!
You can also have fun with the carbs you add. Why not try white beans instead of potatoes? Or how about gnocchi? Or maybe just standard egg noodles. Rice is definitely a more traditional option too. Have fun with it, and pick what you love to eat (I love recipes that allow you to experiment like this).
Cilantro Chicken Soup with Lime
- Dutch oven or large soup pot
- 2 tablespoon olive oil divided
- 1 onion diced
- 2 cloves of garlic diced
- 1 poblano pepper diced
- 1 bunch fresh cilantro, leaves and stems plus more for serving
- 4 C chicken broth divided
- 2 C mini potatoes quartered
- 3 C chicken, shredded and cooked
- salt and pepper to taste
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- ¾ teaspoon dried coriander
- ¼ C fresh lime juice
- grated cheese
- sour cream
- Heat olive oil in a Dutch oven or soup pot over medium heat. Sauté the garlic, onion and pepper together; cook for 5-6 minutes until softened.
- Place the onion mixture in a blender. Add cilantro and 1 cup of chicken broth. Blend until smooth. Set aside.
- In the same pot you cooked the onions in, add a little more oil, potatoes and remaining chicken stock. Bring to a boil until potatoes are cooked through (about 15 minutes). Add the shredded chicken.
- Add the cilantro and onion mixture to the potato and chicken mixture. Stir until well combined, and heat through. Add the lime juice at the very end. Garnish with avocado, cheese and sour cream. Serve immediately.