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Lime soup is a traditional dish from Yucatan. Traditional Yucatan cuisine has its origins in the Hispanic and Yucatán Mayan culture. The combination of meat from animals brought from Europe, the spices, and cooking methods and preparation of multiple local ingredients, resulted in many dishes such as the lime soup. The lime soup as it is known was first created in 1946 by the master called Katún (means "warrior" in Mayan language). Today it is considered as one of the most representative soups of Yucatan.

Sopa de Lima Recipe
Serves 8 - 10

The Broth (You can substitute regular chicken or turkey stock)

  • 2 turkey or 4 chicken wings
  • 1 turkey or 2 chicken carcasses
  • 2 tablespoons cooking salt
  • ½ sweet lime (substitute Persian lime if not available)
  • 1 spring fresh mint (or dried equivalent)
  • 8 whole allspice berries
  • 15 black peppercorns
  • 1 tablespoon fresh oregano (or dried equivalent of 1 teaspoon)
  • 1 stick cinnamon
  • 5 whole cloves
  • 2 medium heads of garlic (about 20 average sized cloves)
  • 2 medium yellow onions, peeled, cut and diced
  • ½ teaspoon cumin seeds
  • Some cheesecloth
  • Some wire bag ties or string

Place the wings and carcasses in four quarts of cold water. If they are not covered, add water to cover. Season with the salt, more or less depending on your personal taste, and boil. Remove the scum as it forms on the surface or the broth. Three ways to prepare the spices (garlic, peppercorns, allspice, oregano, cinnamon, cloves, and cumin seeds). If you are using dried oregano no need to roast or toast.

  • Toast light in a toaster oven or regular oven, taking care not to burn them. Toast the garlic with the spices. It is done when the garlic is a light to medium golden color.
  • Roast them in a cast iron skillet. You will know they are done when the cumin deeds begin to pop and a delicious aroma is wafting off them. Take care not to burn over-roast.
  • Use a spice roaster. Grind the spice, without the garlic, until you have a medium powder.

Put spices into a 4″ square of double cheesecloth and tie off with the bag ties or string. If you are using dried mint you should add it to this spice bag as well. Add the onions, garlic, spice bag, lime and mint to your broth. Reduce over a low heat to about 10 cups. This should take about one hour. When done, strain the entire mixture through a sieve or cheesecloth. Discard the bones, spice bag & vegetables. Cool and skim grease from surface. You now have salpimentado broth!

The Soup

  • 2 quarts salpimentado broth
  • 1 turkey or 2 chicken breasts
  • 3 sweet limes
  • 2 tomatoes
  • 1 güero or chilaca chili (pepper), veins & seeds removed
  • 1 habanero chili (pepper), veins & seeds removed
  • ½ cup chopped fresh cilantro (coriander)
  • ½ cup chopped epazote (wormseed)
  • 6 tortillas
  • 1 lemon

Roast the tomatoes in the oven at 400 degrees. When the skin begins to peel and the tomato smokes a bit, pull away the skin. Remove the seeds with the aid of a teaspoon, fry the tomato into a puree and season with salt and pepper. Peel and section the limes. Toast the habanero and güero/ chilaca chiies in the oven until the skin is a medium brown. The best habanero are orange, they are riper.

Boil the turkey or chicken breast in the broth with the lime sections, the guero/chilaca chili, tomato puree, cilantro and epazote. Dried ingredients are okay to use, just reduce the amounts accordingly. When the meat is cooked, remove from the broth and allow cooling. Reduce the heat on the other ingredients and allow simmering.

While this is boiling, cut the tortillas into strips and either fry in a bit of oil to make them crispy or bake in the oven. When the meat is cool to your touch shred into small strips and adds back to the broth. Bring back to a boil. Add the tortillas strips to the soup just prior to serving.

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