I did not grow up eating homemade chicken soup, we only had good old campbells. My mother made beef stew, vegetable soup, and potato soup and they were fantastic. My wonderful friends Guadalupe and Terri Becerra taught me to make this. It was quite simple, I have since added more to it. It is my daughter and granddaughter's favorite soup and they are always asking for it summer or winter.
1In a huge stewpot melt the stick of butter over low heat add, onion and shallot and cook over low for 2 minutes. Now after each addition you will cook for 2 minutes then to the next one. Add bell pepper. Add carrot. Add celery. Add jalapeno. Add garlic but only sauté it 1 minute. Throw all the spices and herbs in except salt and then add the chicken in. Add enough water to cover the chicken plus 2 extra inches more of water in. Add ¼ cup of Knorr Caldo de pollo (see note below). Bring this to a boil then lower till it is simmering. Simmer for 30 minutes keeping and eye on water level. Add more water as necessary. Add the can plus the juice of the diced tomatoes. Add the mixed vegetables and the cabbage. Simmer another 30 minutes. Add the rice, yellow squash and the zucchini. Stir every little bit and make sure to scrape the bottom so the rice does not stick. Simmer another 30 minutes till rice is tender. Now check for seasoning. At this time I like to add another little teaspoon of cumin, a small bit of ground coriander, and a small amount of both parsley and cilantro to freshen the herb flavor. Taste for salt and add more if necessary.
2Notes: First of all this soup is traditionally made with whole pieces of chicken bone in, and instead of frozen corn it is made with small ears of corn on the cob. It also does not have the mixed vegetables in it. You are given a bowl of soup and then they place a whole piece of chicken and a corn on the cob on top. It is scrumptious that way but I like the added ingredients and my family only eats white meat and the tenders are perfect, the broth seasons them all the way through, I even throw them in frozen. The next thing to discuss is Knorr’s Caldo de pollo. It is powdered chicken bouillon but it also has a few seasonings and parsley in it. It is in a brown bottle with a green lid and yellow and green label and it is found in the Hispanic food aisle of the grocery store. If you cannot find it then plain chicken bouillon will do. You can use any kind of rice but basmati has a flavor that is very much complemented by the Latin favors. Also there is dried bottled cilantro and parsley that will also do. If you like things a bit spicier then by all means leave the seeds in the peppers and add to the soup. Without the seeds, it is spicy but not that hot.