Mexican Chicken Soup

Mexican Chicken Soup (Ricardo DeAratanha / Los Angeles Times)

Mexican chicken soup

Total time: 2 hours, 45 minutes

Servings: 6 to 8

Note: This recipe requires a very large (16-quart) stock pot.

1 whole chicken

1 clove garlic

1/4 head of cabbage, halved

1/2 onion, quartered, plus ½ cup finely chopped onion, divided

3 zucchini, cut crosswise into quarters

3 ears of corn, halved crosswise

1 bay leaf

3 carrots, halved crosswise

3 to 6 small red boiling potatoes

12 green beans, ends trimmed

2 whole celery sticks

Salt and pepper

2 to 3 chicken bouillon cubes

1/2 bunch of cilantro, finely chopped

1 serrano chile, finely chopped

1 lime or lemon, quartered

1. Rinse and dry the chicken. Place the chicken in a very large pot and fill the pot with water so it covers the chicken by a few inches. Bring the water to a simmer over high heat, then reduce the heat to a constant simmer. Cook for about 10 minutes, then gently skim the top of the soup, discarding any scum.

2. Add the garlic, cabbage, one-half (quartered) onion, zucchini, corn, bay leaf, carrots, potatoes, green beans and celery. Season with 1 teaspoon salt and one-half teaspoon pepper, and drop in the bouillon cubes. Add additional water, if needed, to keep the chicken and vegetables covered by 2 to 3 inches water. Cover the pot loosely and simmer for about 2 hours, until the chicken and vegetables are tender and the broth is a rich golden color. Taste and season with 1 to 2 teaspoons salt and 1 teaspoon pepper, or to taste.

3. The finished soup will be very rustic; remove the chicken bones if desired and cut up the meat, or serve the chicken in pieces with the soup. Serve the soup with the finely chopped onion, cilantro, serrano chile and lime or lemon wedges on the side to be added as garnishes.

Each of 8 servings: 363 calories; 29 grams protein; 36 grams carbohydrates; 6 grams fiber; 13 grams fat; 4 grams saturated fat; 91 mg cholesterol; 8 grams sugar; 1,110 mg sodium.