“Chicken soup for the soul” – I am sure that almost everyone has heard this phrase before along with the book series. It is the basis for inspirational stories. In a literal fashion, it can be inspirational food for our stomachs while giving a warm reassurance that all is well with the world. For me chicken soup is one of those dishes that resonates happiness. The variations range from Italian wedding soup to matzo ball soup to the good ole Campbell’s soup from the can.
One of my favorite takes on chicken soup is Tortilla Soup. This traditional Mexican style soup is prepared in numerous ways but the citrus punch and cilantro really provide those distinct flavors. The Sopa de Lima at Dona Tomas in Oakland’s Temescal neighborhood is one of the best I have tasted. It is completely fresh, vibrant and loaded with wonderful texture and flavors. I have adapted the recipe and found that using rotisserie chicken enhances the flavors two fold. I would love to hear about your chicken soup stories!
Chicken, Lime and Chile Soup
6 C. Chicken stock
1 T. Olive oil
1 Large white onion, small dice
2 Garlic cloves, minced
1 Jalapeno, minced
2 Heirloom tomatoes or vine ripened, 1/3 inch dice
Juice of two limes
1 bunch cilantro, stemmed and chopped (reserve a bit for garnish)
3 C. Shredded rotisserie chicken
2 to 3 C. loosely crushed tortilla chips
Extra limes for squeezing into soup bowls
Place the broth in a large pot over medium heat and bring to a simmer. In a sauté pan, heat the olive oil and add the diced onions. Cook for 5 minutes over medium heat until translucent. Add the minced garlic and jalapeno chili and cook for one more minute.
Pour this mixture into the pot of stock. Add the tomatoes, shredded chicken, half of the cilantro and the lime juice. Add salt and pepper to taste and cook for about 30 minutes on low heat. Check for seasoning and adjust as needed. Right before serving add the remaining cilantro except for the garnish you reserved.
When ready to serve, ladle the soup into bowls. Top with the crushed tortillas and garnish with reserved cilantro on top of the chips. Squeeze a quarter of a lime into each bowl to add that extra zest of flavor and serve.