Red Chile Mexican Chicken Stew / Soup
I’m not sure if I should call clemole a stew or a soup. I’ll let you decide. Clemole is whole chicken legs and thighs cooked with large chunks of corn, chayote, zucchini squash and green beans in a red guajillo chile and tomato broth. It’s hearty, mildly spicy and filling. Really warms you up on a cool day.
Whether you consider it a soup or a stew you will surely consider it delicious. It’s quite common in Mexico to prepare soups that contain large chunks of corn, vegetables or meat that you have to use your fingers to eat. This isn’t a delicate dish. You also may know this soup as Mole de Olla.
Let’s Get Cooking
Start by gathering all of your ingredients.
Prepare the Soup Base
Break open the chiles and remove the seeds and veins and discard.
Place the chiles in a pan and just cover with water. Bring the water to a boil and then turn off the heat and allow the chiles to reconstitute for 15 minutes. Notice how the chiles have plumped up and become pliable.
Place the tomatoes in a pot and just cover with water. Bring to a boil and then reduce the heat to medium. Cook for 15 minutes.
Blend the chiles and tomatoes together to form a loose paste. This will be the base for the broth.
Prepare the Soup
While you are preparing the guajillo chile and tomato base, put the chicken in the pot with 8 cups of water, the whole onion and the head of garlic. Cook over low heat for 15 minutes. Don’t brown the chicken before cooking
Add the corn, chayote, and epazote. Cook for 15 more minutes.
Add the zucchini and green beans.
Now it’s time to add the chile tomato base. Place a large strainer over the pot. Pour in the base. NOTE: If you don’t have a strainer that is large enough to span your pot, it’s easier to strain it into a bowl and then pour the base into the soup.
Use a large kitchen spoon to press the base through the strainer. Discard the pulp.
This is how your soup will look when you first add the chile tomato base.
Bring your soup to a boil. Notice how the broth takes on a darker heartier red color. Skim off the foam that rises to the top. Reduce the heat to medium and cook for 20 minutes. Add 1 tsp. of salt and then add salt until it’s to your taste.
Discard the onion, epazote, and head of garlic before serving.
You can serve your clemole in either individual bowls or place it in a large serving bowl and serve it family style at the table. Serve with a warm stack of corn tortillas and sliced lime to squirt into your soup.
Clemole de Pollo
- 6 pieces of chicken legs and/or thighs
- 2 ears of white corn
- 2 chayotes
- 1 white onion
- 1/3 lb. green beans
- 2 medium zucchini squash calabacita
- 6 roma tomatoes
- 6 sprigs of fresh epazote or 2 tbsp. dried
- 1 head of garlic
- 4 to 6 limes
- 8 cups water
- 1 tsp. salt + as needed
- 18 corn tortillas warmed
- CHILE TOMATO BASE
- Break open the chiles and remove the seeds and veins.
- Place the chiles in a pan and just cover with water.
- Bring the water to a boil and then turn off the heat and allow the chiles to reconstitute for 15 minutes.
- Add the whole tomatoes to a pot and cover them with water.
- Bring to a boil and then reduce the heat and simmer for 15 minutes.
- Blend the tomatoes and chiles with a little bit of the water you used to soak the chiles to form a loose paste.
- Set aside the chile tomato base.
- Put the chicken in the pot with 8 cups of water, the whole onion and the head of garlic. Cook over low heat for 15 minutes. Don't brown the chicken before cooking.
- Add the chunks of corn, chayote and epazote. Cook for 15 more minutes over low heat.
- Add the chunks of zucchini squash and green beans.
- Strain the blended guajillo chile tomato base directly into the pot.
- Bring to a boil and remove any foam that rises to the top.
- Reduce the heat and cook for 20 minutes.
- Add 1 tsp. of salt. Then add as much salt as needed to your taste.
- Discard the onion, epazote and head of garlic before serving.
- Serve with sliced lime.