My Favorite Mexican Soup


Sopa de Lima (Lime Soup with Tortilla Strips and Chile)

This is one of the lighter soups in the great sopa inventory of Mexican cooking, and I order it whenever I can find it, both in Mexico and in the American Southwest.  There are many variations of soup with tortillas throughout Mexico, and this is a variation that is popular in the Yucatán Peninsula. Chicken is commonly used but you can substitute leftover turkey in this delicate soup. The Mexican limes that are used in the Yucatán Peninsula differ from the Persian limes that are common in the United States in that they are smaller, darker green, and more tart than sweet. Although they are preferred, any lime can be substituted. Be sure to add the tortillas right before serving or they will become soggy.

3 corn tortillas, cut in strips
Vegetable oil for frying
2 chicken breasts
1 small onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, chopped
6 whole peppercorns
1 2-inch stick cinnamon
8 whole allspice berries
1 tablespoon chopped fresh oregano, Mexican preferred
4 cups chicken broth
1 tomato, peeled and chopped
2 tablespoons lime juice
1 poblano or fresh green New Mexican chile, roasted, peeled, stem removed, cut in strips
4 lime slices for garnish
Chopped cilantro for garnish

Deep fry the tortilla strips in 360 degree F. oil until crisp. Remove and drain.

Place the chicken, onion, garlic, peppercorns, cinnamon, allspice, oregano, and broth in a pot. Bring to a boil and remove and any foam that comes to the top. Reduce the heat and simmer, covered, for 30 minutes. Allow the chicken to cool in the stock.

Remove the chicken and remove the bones. Using two forks, shred the meat. Strain the broth and add enough water to make 1 quart of liquid.

Reheat the broth with the tomato, lime juice and chile. Add the chicken and simmer until the chicken is hot.

Place some of the tortilla strips in the bottom of a soup bowl, add the soup, garnish with a lime slice and cilantro and serve.

Yield: 4 to 6 servings
Heat Scale: Medium

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AboutDave Dewitt

Dave is known in the media as "The Pope of Peppers" because of the 36 books he's written on chile peppers and spicy food around the world. He's also co-producer of the National Fiery Foods & Barbecue Show and editor and publisher of the Fiery Foods & Barbecue SuperSite at His latest book, with chile breeder Dr. Paul Bosland, is The Complete Chile Pepper Book.

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