Monday, November 7, 2011

Yucatan lime soup: simple, comforting

Lime soup from Labná restaurant in Cancun
On a trip last week to Cancun I had plenty of great cochinita pibil -- pork marinated in bitter orange and slow-roasted -- but I expected that. The dish that made the biggest impression on me was simple, comforting and yet also stimulating: Lime soup.

It helps that the Yucatan peninsula grows great high-acidity limes that the locals squeeze on everything they eat. But I think you can make this soup at home fairly simply with local limes, although I might sub in some lemon to give it a little more acidity.

It's a really basic idea: lime juice and chicken broth, along with shredded chicken. Some places serve it with fried tortilla chips and queso fresco on top, but these aren't necessary. However, I did like the accoutrements at Labná restaurant: cilantro, diced onions, chopped jalapeños and chopped habaneros, which I admit I'm too wimpy for. I also added some fresh-ground black pepper.

Searching for a good recipe, I found this interesting one from the New York Times that greatly complicates the soup, adding cinnamon and cloves. It's intriguing enough to pass on, but I  liked the simplicity of Labná's version, so the NYT one might just be too much work.

So I prefer this recipe from Bon Appétit, which is really simple, to the point of using canned chicken broth. With prep and everything, you can probably make it in 30 minutes, unusual for soup. UPDATE: We made this last night and because American limes aren't as strong as Mexican -- and because I really like lime -- I would increase the amount of lime in this recipe by about 50%.

This is a great soup for Riesling lovers, who will relate to the fruitiness and acidity. However, if you want to know what I had to drink with it in Cancun, well, the answer is obvious:

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MG said...

Thank you for the tip. Lime Juice soup is very interesting idea. I’d like to try easy version recipe from Bon Appetit.

Portland Charcuterie Project said...

Great soup.. think I'll try that one.

Since you're in Cancun.. maybe a wet tshirt contest and jello shots would have been an acceptable pairing instead?

W. Blake Gray said...

PCP, if you want a photo of me in a wet t-shirt, I'll have to direct you to my other site, True Horror Stories.