I’m sitting here at my desk on this blustery Minnesota morning, reading about blizzard warnings and drinking a hot coffee. I’m also thinking about this wonderful, warming soup. I really wish I had a bowl waiting for me downstairs. Last week I shared with you how to make your own homemade chicken broth and I promised that a few delicious soup recipes would follow, so here’s number one. This Sopa De Lima (Mexican Chicken Lime Soup) has become one of our family favorites. I love it because I’m partial to broth soups– they warm me up in such a perfect way. I’m also a huge fan of citrus in my soups– I love to finish them with lemon, or in this case with lime. It really brightens them up. This soup comes together in no time at all if you’ve done a bit of prep work– i.e., made your broth ahead of time.
Assuming you’ve made the broth ahead of time, make sure you reserved your chicken meat for this recipe. This soup is so simple and doesn’t contain a lot of other major ingredients, so the broth really shines. Honestly, the soup is basically just seasoned broth with chicken, a bit of tomato, puréed charred onion and a lot of fresh toppings. And it’s amazing. Traditionally, tortillas are deep-fried for the top of the soup, but even I take shortcuts sometimes. I generally forego the deep-frying of the tortillas and instead opt to use good quality tortilla chips. Having a large pot of hot oil on my stove is just a bit too much effort for me, with not enough reward– but, you can certainly choose to give it a go.
I’ve found that I love the flavor of broiling the onions and garlic until they have a bit of char on them– not too much. It really emphasizes the smokey flavor. You’ll want to watch the garlic and most likely remove it from the oven before the onion is done. Otherwise it may burn. The toppings at the end are a personal choice, make it as spicy (with jalapeños and cayenne pepper) as you want. Load it up with tortilla chips, aged white cheddar cheese, cilantro, more lime, and avocados. I’m kicking myself for forgetting to put the avocados on the soup before I snapped the photos. Rest assured I plopped some on it before I devoured the bowl. They’re perfect here, so don’t forget the avocados. Enjoy!
The Recipe: Sopa De Lima (Mexican Chicken Lime Soup)
2 quarts chicken broth (preferably homemade using this recipe)
About 4 cups shredded cooked chicken (use chicken from stock that you previously made OR boil or bake some bone-in, skin-on chicken breasts and thighs– then shred)
1 medium white onion, sliced
about 1 1/2 garlic bulbs, peeled (not just the cloves– the entire bulb!)
1 cup puréed or crushed canned tomatoes
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
1 4-inch cinnamon stick
1 dried bay leaf
freshly ground black pepper and kosher salt, to taste
zest from two organic limes
1/4 – 1/3 cup fresh lime juice
Toppings: tortilla chips, cilantro, jalapeños, ground cayenne pepper, lime slices, aged white cheddar cheese (or monterey jack), and avocados
Place the sliced onion and peeled garlic cloves on a baking sheet. Place in the oven and broil until color begins to develop, flipping once. You may need to remove the garlic before the onion is done, so it does not burn. Keep a watchful eye while broiling.
Begin the broth. In a large Dutch oven or kettle, add the chicken broth, tomatoes, oregano, thyme, cumin, cloves, allspice, cinnamon, bay leaf, lime zest, and salt and pepper. Bring to a boil, then reduce to medium and let cook for about 20-25 minutes.
Meanwhile, place the charred onion and garlic in a blender and add a bit of broth. Blend until somewhat smooth. Add the mixture to the soup. Continue to cook the soup until you reach the 20-25 minute mark. Remove the bay leaf and cinnamon. Add the lime juice and taste. Season with more salt and pepper, if necessary.
You can choose to add the chicken directly into the soup, but I generally heat in up in the microwave and portion it out among the bowls and ladle the hot soup over it. Then add the final toppings– the tortilla chips, cheese, cilantro, jalapeños, lime slice, cayenne, and avocados. Enjoy!
Thanks for stopping by Relishing it!