The End Of An Era & A Recipe

Unless you've been sleeping for the last couple of years, you've probably heard stories saying that according to the Mayan calendar, the world will end this Friday, December 21, 2012.

Well to put it plainly, that's hogwash, poppycock, or dare I say a bunch of malarkey.

If you've read this post that I wrote a few months ago, you may have taken a look at the film 2012 The Mayan Word, where present day Maya speak for themselves about the prophecies.

Long story short. End of the old era and the beginning of a new, hopefully more spiritually uplifting one. With all that's been happening lately in the United States, we could definitely use a spiritual step up and a fresh start. It's also the Winter Solstice.

Like an early New Year, we all get to start anew on Friday. Plus it's the first day of winter. So with all this going on, someone may be looking for an appropriate recipe. Right?

You know I'm always thinking about food!!

Yucatecan food combines traditional Mayan ingredients and cooking style with European flavors. Yucatecan Lime Soup or Sopa de Lima is a traditional comfort food and is a great meal when you're sick. Very much like a Mexican version of Chicken Noodle Soup.

So as we think about the new era and fighting off winter colds, I think this is a good recipe for a brand new start.

Sopa de Lima

8 corn tortillas
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 medium onion, chopped
1 celery rib, thinly sliced
1 carrot, thinly sliced
1 jalapeno or serrano pepper, stemmed, seeded and finely chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 bay leaf
1/4 teaspoon dried Mexican oregano, crumbled
1 large tomato, peeled and chopped
8 cups chicken stock or canned low sodium chicken broth
1 1/2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts
2 green onions, finely chopped
3 limes, juiced (about 1/3 cup)
1 large avocado, peeled, pitted and coarsely chopped
2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro leaves

Cut the tortillas into ¼ inch strips. Heat the oil in a medium skillet and, when very hot, fry the tortilla strips in small batches, until lightly golden and crisp, 30 seconds to a minute. Transfer to paper towel-lined plate to drain. Season with salt, taste. Repeat until all tortilla strips have been fried. Set fried tortilla strips aside and save the vegetable oil.

Transfer 1 tablespoon of the reserved cooking oil to a large saucepan and add the chopped onion, celery, carrot, and jalapeno pepper. Cook over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally, until vegetables have softened, about 4 minutes. Add the garlic, bay leaf and Mexican oregano and cook, stirring for 1 minute. Add the tomato and season lightly with salt. Cook, stirring, until the tomato is softened and has release its liquid and the mixture is nearly dry; 4 to 5 minutes.

Add the chicken stock and chicken breasts and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a slow simmer and cook until the chicken is just cooked through; 12 to 15 minutes. Remove chicken from the soup and set aside until cool enough to handle. Allow soup to continue simmering.

When the chicken has cooled a bit, shred into bite size pieces and return to the pot along with the green onions and lime juice. Cook for 5 minutes, or until the chicken is heated through and the soup is piping hot. Season the soup, to taste, with salt and ladle the soup into wide soup bowls, with a handful of tortilla strips added to each bowl. Garnish with the avocado and cilantro and serve immediately.

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Recipe and photo courtesy of Cancun Convention and Visitors Bureau.

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