Aguadito (“thin little broth”) is a very traditional Peruvian soup. It’s an incredibly aromatic and flavorful hen soup with sofrito, lots of cilantro, and a kitchen-sink list of ingredients. You may wonder why I’m posting a hot soup recipe, just as summer is getting underway here on the East Coast. Allow me to give a bit of a background explanation.
Peruvians are simply infamous for their partying lifestyle. On holidays and special occasions, the festivities can last well into the night – and often extend into the following day! Their drinking abilities are the stuff of legend. Lima is known as a clubbing and partying mecca that can be overwhelming for pathetic cheap-date lightweights (such as myself).
All those borrachos inevitably find themselves in the same rocky boat: suffering a miserable hangover. Aguadito is a well-known “morning after” cure. It has a splash of “the hair of the dog” and fiery rocoto to restore the body– and the soul – to party-ready condition once more. Revelers also scarf some down in the wee hours, to fuel their all-night carousing; it often makes its welcome appearance at sunrise, just when spirits start to sag. Aguadito helps stricken Peruvians back to their feet – and back to the club – to live and party another day.
Much of Peru is hot much (in some places, all) of the time, which makes a steaming bowl of soup seem counterintuitive. But believe it or not, consuming hot liquid and spice is believed to cool off the body by increasing sweating. Maybe aguadito helps hangover-sufferers to sweat off the alcohol toxins while rehydrating the body and restoring nutrients. Sounds like a working theory to me.
Anyway… this weekend, I’m featuring an assortment of alcoholic beverages; so I thought I would be proactive. Make this soup ahead of time. If you do overindulge, you’ll have a delicious morning-after cure on hand! Aguadito is great for whatever ails you – whether it’s the flu, a hangover… or just hunger.
|Cook Time||Passive Time|
- 5pounds hen,whole, skin removed
- 1/4cup vegetable oil
- 4 1/2quarts water
- 1large yellow onionrough chop
- 4cloves garlicpeeled, halved
- 2medium carrots,rough chop
- 2stalks celery,rough chop
- 1/4cup fresh ginger,peeled, sliced (about 1 oz. piece)
- 1tsp. Kosher salt
- 1/4tsp. white pepper
- 2 bay leaf
- 1recipe stock and hen(as above)
- 1Tbsp. olive oilextra virgin
- 1/2large red onionsmall dice
- 3cloves garlicminced
- 1medium red bell peppersmall dice
- 12oz. beer, lager(1 bottle)
- 2medium yellow potatoescut in eighths
- 1cup white rice,long grain
- 1ear choclo or white corn,cut in
- 1cup white hominy,drained (optional)
- 1cup green peasfresh or frozen and defrosted
- 1cup cilantrochopped
- 1Tbsp. rocoto paste
- 2tsp. Kosher salt(to taste)
It may help to briefly blanch the hen in hot water to help remove the tough skin.
The hen makes a great deal of meat, even without the back. If you prefer more broth, only add half of the shredded hen; save the remainder for another purpose (like ají de gallina).
You can substitute pre-made chicken stock, and use already-cooked chicken (i.e. leftover roast, etc.).
You can also substitute a whole chicken for the hen; however, the stock cooking time will be shortened significantly (1 ½ to 2 hours).
This soup can also be made with turkey (aguadito de pavo). Replace the hen meat with 5 pounds of turkey (breast, leg and wing). Follow the recipe as is.
Copyright © 2011 la vida comida.
Recipe by Jennifer Ramos Lorson.