Yucatan-Style Lime and Chicken Soup
By Heidi Allison
Chicken Lime Soup, which also goes by the moniker Sopa de Lima, is a traditional one-dish meal served in Mexico's Yucatán region. The rich, deep flavor of the chicken broth is complemented by the bracing edge of fresh lime juice, creating a satisfying and healthy meal. Do not skimp on the fresh lime juice— serve wedges of fresh-cut lime as a garnish when serving this soup— the fresh acidic lime flavor dissipates quickly after adding it to the hot soup. Fresh lime juice contrasted with a heavy garlic hit is the flavor profile that defines this iconic and addictive dish!
In this easy rendition, the poaching time has been slashed by cooking the chicken thighs in a good-quality, store-bought organic chicken bone broth, which creates a deep, concentrated chicken stock that tastes like it has been simmering on the stove all day. Chose an organic bone broth with very few ingredients—chicken salt and water—and skip brands that add apple cider vinegar, yeast, dextrose (sugar), carrots, celery, etc. Fresh lime juice is an essential part of this dish—do not use bottled lime juice. I use Pomi crushed tomatoes that come in a paper box to save time since canned brands can sometimes impart a tinny or metallic taste to the finished dish. Do not leave out the corn cobbs—they lend a subtle corn taste and thicken the broth.
Serves: 2 as a main: 4 as an appetizer
24 ounces good-quality chicken broth (I like Butcher's Chicken Bone Broth)
16 ounces skinless, boneless chicken thighs
1 teaspoon cracked black peppercorns
4 large garlic cloves
2 small corn cobbs, without kernels (can use frozen if out of season)
1½ teaspoons kosher flake sea salt
2 organic limes, cut into 4 wedges each
¾ teaspoon dried oregano (Mexican oregano preferred)
1 serrano pepper, sliced very thin on a mandolin or Japanese Benriner
⅓ cup chopped cilantro, leaves only
1 cup diced tomatoes, (I recommend Pomi brand )
2 tablespoons good-quality extra virgin olive oil ( I recommend California Estate buttery olive oil)
1 Hass or Fuerte Avocado; peeled w/pit removed and cut into medium chunks
In a medium stockpot, add chicken bone broth, chicken thighs, onion, salt and garlic, and heat on medium-high heat till it boils. Reduce heat to a simmer and cook till chicken is opaque and no longer pink —about 10 minutes. Remove chicken to a plate, cover with a damp towel and set aside.
Continue to cook onion and garlic in stock till soft—about another 4 to 5 minutes.
Remove onion and garlic, along with one cup of stock, place ingredients in a blender and puree until homogenous liquid forms, then pour onion and garlic mixture back into chicken stock.
Add the tomatoes, oregano, lime juice and olive oil, then heat to a boil. Shred reserved chicken thighs and add to pot. Reduce heat to low and simmer just until flavors meld—about 5 minutes. Remove corn cobs and discard.
Ladle into soup bowls and top with avocado, cilantro, serrano slices and a squeeze of fresh lime.
Serve immediately with fresh lime wedges on the side.