Recipe for sopa de lima (Mexican lime and tortilla soup)
My first encounter with this soup happened in the perfect setting: a small roadside restaurant in a small roadside village in central Mexico, on a hot, dusty afternoon. The sour flavor of the lime surprised my taste buds; I was expecting tomato and chile pepper, but what I got was an amazing explosion of citrus-salt-heat. This is the soup that will cure your head cold. And maybe it will remind you of Mexico, too. Though the soup sounds exotic, all of the ingredients are available in the grocery store. A rotisserie chicken makes it easy. You can prepare the soup base far ahead of time, and store in the refrigerator or freezer.
Sopa de lima
A slightly different version of this recipe, adapted from Latin & Carribbean Stores Demystified, by Linda Bladholm, first appeared on The Perfect Pantry. Serves 10-12.
6 corn or whole wheat or oat bran tortillas
2 Tbsp canola oil
2 medium onions, finely chopped
4 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
2 canned chipotle chiles in adobo, minced, plus 1/2 tsp adobo sauce
2 tsp dried Mexican oregano (or regular oregano)
2 bay leaves
1 28-oz can chopped tomatoes (I use Pomi chopped tomatoes, in a box)
10 cups chicken stock (homemade or low-sodium canned)
Juice of 4 limes, plus the rinds (8 halves of squeezed lime)
1 rotisserie chicken, shredded (or 2 cups shredded cooked chicken breast)
Kosher salt and fresh black pepper to taste
Chopped garnishes (use some or all, to your taste): diced red onion, chopped avocado, crumbled queso fresco or feta cheese, cilantro leaves
Preheat oven to 425°F. Slice tortillas into thin matchsticks, 2-3 inches long and 1/4-inch wide (try to make them somewhat irregular in shape; it will look better), and spread on a cookie sheet. Leave out on the countertop to get a bit stale while you prepare the soup.
In a stockpot, heat the oil. Sauté onion until soft, 2-3 minutes. Add the garlic and chipotles, and stir for 30 seconds. Add the tomatoes, and stir 2-3 minutes. Add the 1/2 tsp adobo sauce, stock, lime juice, lime halves, oregano and bay leaf. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer 10 minutes. Add shredded chicken, and season with salt and pepper. Remove lime rinds. Set soup aside, covered. (If making ahead, cool soup completely, and refrigerate or freeze. Reheat before serving.)
Bake the tortilla strips for 10 minutes, or until crisp and browned. Stir half of the tortilla strips into the soup, and let sit for 5 minutes. Ladle soup into individual serving bowls, and garnish with more crispy tortilla strips and your choice of garnishes.