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Thursday, January 20, 2011

Luscious Limes

Two of my favorite foods are in season right now-limes and avocados.  The bright green and tart punch of limes adds a brightness to so many dishes, and avocados, well, that creamy, richness can be used so many ways it's not even funny.  It's no wonder that one of my family's favorite soups uses copious amounts of both of these ingredients to make a veritable taste explosion, Yucatan Lime Soup.

My husband and I tasted this wonderful mix of savory tartness when we visited the beautiful Mayan Riviera several years ago.  Now, I grew up in the Caribbean, but I had never had a combination like this before.  Rich chicken broth mixed with a strong lime flavor. *sounds of angels singing* I was in heaven!

To keep with the feel of the fiesta, the ensemble needed to have a punch of color, and being a red head, I went with a gorgeous bright pumpkin cashmere cardigan to be the centerpiece of my outfit.

By the way, this lovely is on sale at JCrew!

Florals are so very in this year, and I am embracing my softer side.

Admittedly, skinnies are not for everyone, but you know what is? Mid-rise boot cut.  Who doesn't want a longer leg line? But, for this evening, I've got on my skinnies.

A blue wedge to tie it all together, and voila!

Okay, back to cooking.  When I first started looking for a recipe that matched what we had in Mexico, I came across quite a few, but none had enough of a lime-y punch.  However, we did finally adapt an Emeril Lagasse recipe to get the taste as close as possible to the original.

Yucatan Lime Soup

4 chicken thighs
1 T. cumin seed, ground in a mortar and pestle
1/2 t. kosher salt, plus 1 t. more
1/2 cup vegetable oil
20 corn tortillas, sliced into 1 inch strips
3/4 cup white onion, finely diced
3/4 cup red onion, finely diced
1 T. cajun seasoning (I used Emeril's)
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 plum tomatoes, seeded and diced
2 serrano chiles, finely diced
8 cups chicken broth
Juice of 3 limes
1/2 cup cilantro, chopped
2 avocados, sliced

Remove skin from chicken and season with ground cumin and 1/2 t. salt.  Set to the side.

Grind the cumin and salt using a mortar and pestle for the freshest flavor.

In large pot, heat oil over high heat.  Cook tortillas in small batches until golden brown on both sides.  Drain on paper towels.

Remove all but 3 T. of oil from the pan.  Add onion, cajun seasoning, remaining salt and saute until soft.  Add the chicken, garlic, tomatoes, and chiles and saute for 3 minutes.  Add stock and the juice of 2 of the limes.  Simmer for 30 minutes, or until chicken is fork tender.

Remove chicken from pan and de-bone.  Return chicken to soup.  Remove from heat and add cilantro and the juice of the remaining lime.

Serve with sliced avocado and tortilla strips.  Taste the luscious limes and rich avocados, my lovelies!


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