Sunday, January 22, 2017

Weekend Gourmet Flashback: Celebrating National Soup Month with Yucatan Chicken-Lime Soup

January is National Soup Month, so I wanted to share one of my favorite soup recipes with you. I originally shared the recipe for Yucatan Chicken-Lime Soup...aka Sopa de Lima...a couple of years ago. It's so crazy good that I wanted to share it again in honor of National Soup Month. This soup is very similar to chicken-tortilla soup, with a citrusy kick from the addition of lime juice. This recipe is my spin on an Emeril Lagasse recipe, by way of Rick Bayless. I also made a few minor tweaks based on some tricks I learned from a server in Merida, Mexico -- where we first tasted this dish while on vacation a few years ago. 

I use skinless bone-in chicken breast to give a richer chicken flavor to my broth. Second, I add lime juice AND simmer lime halves in the broth for 15 minutes before serving. This allows the lime's citrus oil to infuse a deeper lime flavor. Finally, I add a bit of chihuahua cheese to the top of each bowl before serving -- because a little cheese is never a bad thing! This Yucatan Chicken-Lime Soup is the perfect soup to serve on a chilly Winter day, and it'w also great for any upcoming game-watching parties on your schedule.

Yucatan Chicken-Lime Soup (Sopa de Lima)
adapted from Emeril Lagasse and Rick Bayless
Ingredients (makes 6-8 bowls of soup):
  • 1 tbs. olive oil
  • 1 cup chopped onion
  • 1 medium carrot, thinly sliced
  • 1 celery stalk, thinly sliced
  • 1 jalapeno, seeded and finely chopped
  • 3-4 garlic cloves, finely chopped or grated
  • 2-3 bay leaves
  • 1 tsp. dried Mexican oregano
  • 1 large tomato, seeded and chopped
  • 8 cups chicken stock
  • 2 large skinless, bone-in chicken breasts
  • 2-3 green onions, thinly sliced
  • 3 limes
  • Garnishes: shredded Chihuahua or Monterrey Jack cheese, diced avocado, crushed tortilla chips OR fried corn tortilla strips, chopped cilantro, and additional wedges of lime
Step 1: Add vegetable oil to a large Dutch oven and heat over med-high heat. When the oil is hot, add the onion, carrot, celery, and jalapeno. Stir and cook until the veggies are soft, about 4-5 minutes. Add the garlic cloves, bay leaves, and Mexican oregano. Stir to combine and cook for 1-2 minutes.
Step 2: Add the chopped tomato. Stir to combine and cook for 4-5 minutes. Add the chicken stock and bone-in skinless chicken breasts. Bring to a boil, then lower heat so the soup simmers. Cover and cook for about 30 minutes, until the chicken is cooked through.
Step 3: Remove the chicken from the pot and set aside to cool. Add the green onions. Cut the limes in half  and add the juice to the soup. Then, place the lime halves in the soup and simmer for 15 minutes. 
Step 4: Shred the cooked chicken. Remove the lime halves and add the reserved chicken to the soup. Stir well to combine. Let the soup sit for 5-10 minutes, which allows all of the flavors to incorporate. To serve, ladle the soup into deep bowls. Top each serving with the crushed tortilla chips or fried corn tortilla strips, cheese, avocado, and chopped cilantro. Serve additional lime wedges on the side for those who want an extra burst of fresh lime!
This is one good's definitely a complete meal in a bowl thanks to all the chicken and hearty toppings! The first thing you taste is the punch of lime, but it's not at all overpowering -- it works perfectly with the rich broth, earthy tortilla strips, creamy avocado, and gooey cheese for a perfectly balanced taste. I make a pot of this soup from chopping to veggies to eating in a little over an hour, and most of that time involves simmering the soup. This is a perfect soup to celebrate National Soup Month, so I hope you give it a try!!

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