What’s better than a delicious soup with a side of history? The recipe for Bowl of the Wife of Kit Carson soup is The Fort’s take on classic caldo tlalpeño, and the tale of its name is a flavorful addition to its history.
In 1961, two years before The Fort’s opening, the Arnold family road tripped to Mexico and stopped in the Mexican border town of Durango. There they ate lunch in a local drugstore known for its delicious, authentic food. They ordered local favorite caldo tlalpeño—a smoky, rich broth soup with chicken and garbanzo beans. Struck by its flavor and freshness, the Arnolds knew the soup needed to be on The Fort’s menu.
Despite the soup’s delicious flavor, the name and difficulty of pronunciation kept it as the restaurant’s best-kept secret, until a Fort employee suggested a name change. The employee, septuagenarian Leona Wood, remembered her own grandmother serving the soup. With a little genealogical study, it was proven that Leona’s grandmother was the last granddaughter of frontiersman Kit Carson; this family study led to the renaming of caldo tlalpeño as Bowl of the Wife of Kit Carson, and it has been a best selling menu item since.
To make the Bowl of the Wife of Kit Carson, you will need the following ingredients:
- 2 whole boneless, skinless chicken breasts (about two pounds)
- 4 to 6 c. chicken broth
- ¼ tsp. dried Mexican leaf oregano, crumbled
- 1 c. cooked rice
- 1 c. cooked, dried garbanzo bean or canned, rinsed and strained canned garbanzos
- 1 chipotle chile (canned), packed in adobo, minced
- 4 to 6 oz. of Monterey Jack or Havarti cheese, diced
- 1 to 2 ripe diced avocado
- 4 to 6 sprigs of fresh cilantro
- 1 fresh lime, cut into 4 to 6 wedges
- Place chicken breasts and broth in a large saucepan and bring to a boil over medium/high heat.
- Skim off and discard any foam.
- Turn off heat, cover and allow the chicken to poach for 12 minutes.
- Remove chicken from the pot, slice into strips.
- Return the chicken to the broth and add oregano, rice, garbanzos and chipotle.
- Divide the cheese among 4 to 6 deep soup bowls.
- Return soup to a boil and serve into the bowls.
- Garnish each bowl with avocado slices, cilantro and a wedge of lime. Serve with hot tortillas.