(The family recipe of Pablo Beteta, written by Carter McEntee, son of Celeste McEntee)

Pablo and I were missionary companions together for four months in the mountains of Guatemala. We were serving a mission for our church for two years and had an amazing time. Living on a diet consisting of mainly beans and tortillas, caldo was our favorite dish. Every week we bought the ingredients necessary, which also included bringing a live turkey or chicken. We had caldo made for us by the nice families that lived around our area.

Pablo, being from Guatemala, knew what caldo was and had his own family’s recipe, but until now I had never tried his family’s version. He lived in my family’s home this summer, where he was a guest on my mom’s cooking show and taught us how to make caldo. As great as all of the caldos I tried in my mission were, this one might just be the best!

Guatemalan Caldo de Polo


• 1 whole chicken, 3-4 pounds and cut into parts

• 4 cloves garlic, peeled

• 1 medium onion, halved

• 4 whole peppercorns

• 1 teaspoon ground Annatto 

• 1 bay leaf

• 3-4  large carrots, cut into large, 1-2-inch chunks

• 3 large or 8 small potatoes, cut in half if using large

• 2 güisquil (in English Chayote Squash), peeled (wearing gloves) and cut into four large pieces each

• 3 roma tomatoes, chopped roughly

• 8 ounces of mushrooms, cut in half

• 2-3 ears of corn, enough for 8 pieces of 2-3 inch thick pieces

• 4 medium güicoy (in English Ayote Squash), cut in half

• 3 tablespoons cilantro, chopped

• 1-2 teaspoons salt, to taste

• Cooked rice (for serving) cook with salt and water

• Lime wedges (for serving)

• avocado (for serving)


To begin, place 2 tomatoes, 1 onion, 2 cloves of garlic, a red pepper chili, if there is a little consommé or chicken broth you put a large spoonful, all that is blended and reserved.

Cut the vegetables you want into medium squares.

In a separate dish, make a small amount of 1/4 cup of hot chili oil, 1 teaspoon of chili flakes and 1 fresh squeezed lemon.

Put your chicken in a large pot and add water until chicken is covered by at least 4 inches. Add half of the onion, cut in two, and two whole cloves of garlic, peppercorns and bay leaf. Bring to a boil and simmer for 30 minutes. Remove breasts to a plate and reserve, boil remaining mixture for 1½ hours.

In the meantime, slice other half of onion long ways, so you have long strips. Add onions, carrots, potatoes, güisquil and tomatoes to the pot and simmer for 20 minutes. Add güicoy, cilantro, mint and salt to taste and simmer for 10 minutes more.

Pull out other meat pieces and shred along with reserved breasts and add back to the pot.

Turn off heat and spoon 1-2 pieces of each vegetable onto a plate, along with a big spoonful of rice and some lime wedges. Ladle broth into a bowl and serve with plate of vegetables and corn tortillas. If you want a little kick, add the chili lemon sauce on top and mix in. Enjoy!

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