Chicken soup doesn’t cure altitude sickness, but it definitely helps with homesickness. A corner of Cusco, Peru’s San Pedro market is devoted to open kitchens where Quechua ladies make this soup with new crop potatoes and tough old stewing hens. The idea is to have a really rich soup, boiled for hours and full with starch from the potato and the pasta. Then at the end, when serving at the table, you add chiles, chives, and a dash of strong Peruvian lime. In Peru, old stewing hens go into the soup because they can stand up to long simmering better than young chickens, which would disintegrate and dry out. We find that widely available roasting hens—older than broilers and fryers—work just fine, growing tender and succulent after hours of stewing.
How to Make It
Combine first 7 ingredients in a large stockpot or Dutch oven. Bring to a boil over high; reduce heat to medium-low, and simmer 5 hours, skimming froth from surface as necessary. (Add cold water as necessary if soup reduces too much during simmering.)
Remove chicken quarters from pan with tongs; place quarters on a plate. Cool 10 minutes. Pull meat from bones, shredding into bite-size pieces. Discard skin.
Add potatoes to pan. Bring to a boil over medium-high; cook 10 minutes. Stir in egg noodles; cook 10 minutes or until potatoes are tender and noodles are al dente. Stir in shredded chicken and salt. Top each serving with cilantro, chives, and chile; serve with lime.
Far Afield by Shane Mitchell (Ten Speed Press) copyright 2016.