Barely covering the chicken legs with water, along with a few aromatics, quickly produces a flavorful and rich chicken stock that’s lightly spiced with jalapeños and sweet tomatoes. If you want a spicier broth, as this version is pretty mild, use a paring knife to cut small incisions in each chile before adding them to the soup. Read John Paul Brammer's essay The Healing Magic of Caldo de Pollo.

January 2020


Credit: Victor Protasio

Recipe Summary

1 hr 45 mins
40 mins


Ingredient Checklist


Instructions Checklist
  • Combine chicken leg quarters, 5 cups water, cumin, garlic, and 1 tablespoon salt in a large saucepan. Bring to a boil over high. Reduce heat to low; cover and gently simmer 25 minutes.

  • Stir in carrots, potatoes, onion, celery, barley, stewed tomatoes, diced tomatoes and green chiles, and jalapeños. Increase heat to medium, and bring to a simmer. Reduce heat to low; cover and gently simmer, stirring occasionally, until vegetables and barley are tender and chicken is falling off the bone, about 40 minutes. Remove chicken meat from bones; discard bones. Stir chicken and remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt into soup. Add salt to taste.

Make Ahead

Prepare the soup, omitting the barley. Prepared soup can be stored in an airtight container in refrigerator up to 3 days. Stir in cooked barley when ready to serve.