Introduction: Caldo Talpeno

This is a South American soup that I found at a restaurant in Espanola, New Mexico called "El Paragua" .  My father and I stumbled onto during a road trip from Albuquerque to Taos a few years ago.  It's a chicken based vegetable soup that is usually served in a thin stock broth.  Over the past few years I've experimented with various ingredients and ultimately have decided to add cream of chicken soup to thicken the consistency.

Here are a list of the ingredients that you're going to need:

- 1lb. of chicken breast (or cutlets)

- 2 cans of garbanzo beans

- 1 onion, diced

- 1 clove of garlic, minced

- 1 chipotle pepper, minced

- Cilantro and/or basil to taste

- Half box of chicken broth

- Salt & pepper to taste

- 1 cup of carrots, chopped

- 1 cup of green peas

- 2 cans of Campbell's Cream of Chicken soup

- Garnish with avocado and lime when ready to eat.

I make this soup in the morning and let it simmer in a slow cooker all day.  When it's ready to eat you can slice up an avocado to add to the soup and garnish the whole deal with a lime.

I start off by combining the half box of chicken broth and the two cans of cream of chicken soup into the slow cooker.  I turn the heat on low and mix until the broth has a creamy consistency. 

Next I add the carrots, peas and two cans of garbanzo beans (after straining) and mix well.

Next add the chipotle pepper -- I've started buying chipotle powder from the spice aisle, it's a bit more cost effective.  Then add the diced onion and minced garlic then stir together well.

Next I add a pinch of salt and pepper and about a small palm-full of either cilantro or basil.  (A note:  all of these measurements are based on my preference, you could certainly add more for your own tastes or replace any canned or powdered ingredients with the real thing).  Stir together.

Next I dice the chicken and then place it into a sauce pan of boiling water.  Here I just want to cook the chicken long enough so that it's no longer entirely raw.  You could also grill or bake the chicken before hand if that is your preference.  After boiling I drain the chicken and then add it to the slow cooker.

The potatoes are a new experiment for my version of this recipe.  The soup is already extremely hearty and potatoes would only add to that.  I may or may not decide to keep them on as regulars.

Allow the soup to simmer on low heat for at least six to eight hours.  When you're ready to eat, dice an avocado and add it to the soup.  Enjoy :)