Excerpted from Shinin’ Times at The Fort: In the spring of 1961, two years before opening the Fort, my family and I took a road trip to Mexico in a tiny English Morris Mini Cooper S. When we reached Durango, some 600 miles south of the border, we were told that the best place to eat was the drugstore. The next morning, we watched as a stream of young children came in from the fields to fill family lunch buckets with a special soup sold at the store. It smelled so good, we knew we had to try it…

Caldo Tlalpeñois the soup’s proper name and when the Fort opened, it was squarely on the menu. No one could pronounce its name or knew what it meant and despite its innate deliciousness, the soup did not sell. One day, Leona Wood, the septuagenarian who ran our gift shop-trade room on weekends, told us that she remembered “my grandmother serving us this dish!” We were thrilled to hear this. Miss Wood happened to be the last granddaughter of frontiersman Kit Carson, and with a little genealogical figuring, we dubbed the soup Bowl of the Wife of Kit Carson. It has been a bestselling signature dish ever since. 

(serves 4 to 6)

• 2 whole boneless, skinless chicken breasts 

(about 2 pounds)

• 4 to 6 cups chicken broth

• ¼ tsp. dried Mexican leaf oregano, crumbled

• 1 cup cooked rice

• 1 cup canned garbanzo beans, 

rinsed and well drained

• 1 chipotle chile (canned), packed in adobo, 


• 4 to 6 oz. Monterey Jack or Havarti cheese, diced

• 1 to 2 ripe avocados, peeled, pitted, and sliced

• 4 to 6 sprigs fresh cilantro (optional)

• 1 fresh lime, cut into 4 to 6 wedges


Place the chicken breasts and broth in a large saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, skimming off and discarding any foam that rises to the top. Turn off the heat, cover, and allow the chicken to poach gently for 12 minute. Remove the chicken from the pot and cut into strips, about 1 ½ inches long. Return the chicken strips to the broth and add the oregano, rice, garbanzo beans, and chipotle. 

Divide the cheese among 4 to 6 deep soup bowls. 

Return the soup to a boil, then ladle it into the bowls. Garnish each portion with avocado slices, cilantro, and a wedge of lime. Serve with hot tortillas. 

The recipe on this page is from Shinin’ Times at the Fort (Fur Trade Press, 2010). Straight from the kitchens of The Fort—an award-winning Denver restaurant known for its delicious steak, wild game, and seafood—the recipes in this cookbook are a delicious homage to the culinary treasures of the Wild West. TheFort.com

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