Bowl of the Wife of Kit Carson

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Category: Soups

In the spring of 1961, two years before opening The Fort, my family and I took a road trip to Mexico in a tiny English Morris Mini Cooper S. When we reached Durango, some 600 miles south of the border, we were told that the best place to eat was the drugstore. The next morning, we watched as a stream of young children came in from the fields to fill family lunch buckets with a special soup sold at the store. It smelled so good, we knew we had to try it.

Caldo Tlalpeño is the soup’s proper name, and when The Fort opened, it was squarely on the menu. No one could pronounce the name or knew what it meant, and despite its innate deliciousness, the soup did not sell. One day, Leona Wood, the septuagenarian who ran our gift shop-trade room on weekends, told us that she remembered “my grandmother serving us this dish.”

Miss Wood happened to be the last granddaughter of frontiersman Kit Carson, and with a little genealogical figuring, we dubbed the soup Bowl of the Wife of Kit Carson.

Read the full story from the May/June 2012 issue of Colorado Life Magazine!

Number of Servings: 4-6
Ingredients: 2 whole boneless, skinless
chicken breasts (about 2 lbs)
4-6 cups chicken broth
1/4 tsp dried Mexican leaf oregano, crumbled
1 cup cooked rice
1 cup cooked, dried garbanzo beans (chickpeas), or canned garbanzos, rinsed and well drained
1 chipotle chile (canned), packed in adobo, minced
4-6 oz Monterey Jack or havarti cheese, diced
1-2 ripe avocados, peeled, pitted and diced
4-6 sprigs fresh cilantro (optional)
1 fresh lime, cut into 4-6 wedges
Directions: Place chicken breasts and broth in a large saucepan and bring to a boil over medium-high heat, skimming off and discarding any foam that rises to the top. Turn off the heat, cover, and allow the chicken to poach gently for 12 minutes. Remove the chicken from the pot and cut into strips, about 1½ inches long. Return the chicken strips to the broth and add the oregano, rice, garbanzos and chipotle.
Divide the cheese among 4 to 6 deep soup bowls.
Return the soup to a boil, then ladle it into the bowls. Garnish each portion with avocado slices, cilantro, if using and a wedge of lime. Serve with hot tortillas as an appetizer.