Sopa de Lima (Yucatan Lime and Chicken Soup)


This is a Yucatan-influenced lime and chicken soup that is comforting and healing. Traditionally, it is made with “lima agria” or bitter lime, but if you cannot find those, substitute regular limes or key limes.

From an ayurvedic standpoint, this soup is well combined and has all the six tastes (sweet, sour, salty, pungent, bitter and astringent) and is a balanced meal in itself. Meat that is slow cooked in a broth is grounding. This dish is especially beneficial during vata season (fall) as it provides moisture and warmth. You can make a double batch of the broth and freeze half for later use. It will be easy to whip up a batch of soup if you get a cold or the flu during the winter months. Food is medicine.
Caldo de salpimentado (broth)
2 cloves garlic, mashed with mortar and pestle
½ onion, roasted, mashed with mortar and pestle

Dry roasted spices:
2 whole allspice
3 black peppercorns
1 teaspoon fresh oregano (or ⅓ teaspoon dried)
¼ stick cinnamon
¼ teaspoon cumin seeds

1 chicken breast (bone-in), quartered
1 lime, quartered
½ teaspoon Himalayan salt
Water to cover the bone (~4 cups)

1 tablespoon butter
2 tomatoes, roasted, chopped
½ onion, roasted, chopped
1 green chili
1 clove garlic, roasted, mashed
½ lima agria (bitter lime), sliced thin
1 bay leaf
2 epazote leaves
½ teaspoon Himalayan salt

2 small tortillas, cut into thin strips
Avocado, chopped
Mint leaves
1 habanero (orange is riper), seeded, halved

Prepare the tortilla garnish:
In a small fry pan, melt 1 teaspoon of butter over medium-low heat. Shallow fry the tortilla strips in batches, flipping to brown both sides. Remove from pan and drain on a paper towel-lined plate; set aside.

Prepare the Caldo de Salpimentado: In a mortar bowl, combine the roasted garlic and roasted onion with the dry roasted spices; grind into a paste. In a medium pan, add the paste, chicken, quartered lime, salt and water. Bring to a boil over high heat, then reduce to low and simmer until chicken easily falls off bone, about 1 hour.  Strain broth through a fine mesh sieve; set aside. Shred chicken; set aside.

In a medium pan, melt the butter. Add the tomatoes, onion, chili and garlic. Sauté for 1 minute or until onions are translucent. Add the strained caldo de salpimentado, bay leaf, epazote leaves and salt. Increase heat to high and bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low and simmer for 20 minutes.
To serve:
Ladle the soup into serving bowls, top with shredded chicken, avocados, mint, tortillas and habanera.

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