To layer in the flavor, this Milk Street recipe uses both whole toasted coriander and cumin seeds for the broth, and ground spices sauteed in with the onions. The soup's heat hinges on the jalapeños. For more heat, use serranos or include the chilies' seeds. If you can't find fresh tomatillos, you can substitute a can of tomatillos or diced tomatoes, drained, but don't leave them out; they give the soup acidity and texture. The broth and chicken can be made a day ahead and refrigerated separately before proceeding. However, shred the chicken while it's still warm. Chopped avocado, sliced jalapenos, crumbled queso fresco, and fried tortilla strips make bright and delicious garnishes for the soup.

Mexican Chicken Soup With Tomatillos And Hominy


  • 6 cups water
  • 4 cups low or no-sodium chicken broth
  • 2 large white onions, 1 peeled and quartered, 1 chopped
  • 1 bunch cilantro, stems and leaves separated
  • 2 whole dried ancho or pasilla chilies, stemmed, seeded, and torn into rough pieces
  • 2 tablespoons coriander seeds, toasted, plus 1 tablespoon ground coriander
  • 2 tablespoons cumin seeds, toasted, plus 1 tablespoon ground cumin
  • Kosher salt 1 head garlic 2 1/2 to 3 pounds bone-in skin-on chicken legs
  • 2 fresh poblano chilies
  • 2 fresh jalapeño chilies
  • 1 pound fresh tomatillos, husked and quartered
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable or other neutral oil
  • 2 teaspoon dried oregano, preferably Mexican
  • 15-ounce can hominy, drained Toasted pepitas, lime wedges


In a large pot combine the water, broth, quartered onion, cilantro stems, dried chilies, cumin seeds, coriander seeds and one teaspoon salt. Cut off and discard the top third of the garlic head, leaving the cloves intact, and add to the pot. Cover and bring to a boil, then simmer for 10 minutes. Add the chicken and return to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium-low and cook partially covered for 30 minutes, maintaining a gentle simmer.

Meanwhile, heat the broiler to high with an oven rack six inches from the element. Arrange the poblanos and jalapeños on a rimmed baking sheet and broil, turning frequently, until evenly blackened and blistered, 10 to 12 minutes. Transfer to a bowl, cover tightly and set aside. Chop the cilantro leaves and set aside.

Peel, stem and seed the fresh chilies, then roughly chop and add to a food processor along with the tomatillos. Pulse until coarsely chopped, six to eight pulses.