Have you ever wondered how the Mexicans and the Thais ended up coming up with the same great combination of cilantro, lime and hot chilies? I mean, their countries are about as far apart as two places can get - but somehow they both cottoned on to this great combo while no on else (to my knowledge) did. Just some food for thought there.
Nothing quite says "soup season" like homemade chicken soup. This one has a sort of fresh Mexican/Thai feel to it with cilantro, fresh tomato, lime and chili peppers. It's really warming and comforting while still being fresh and totally UN-heavy. I made it over the weekend and have been dipping back into the soup pot every day for some more. It also takes advantage of the great fresh autumn corn that's been around lately.
Mexican Chili, lime and chicken soup
- 1.5 litres of good chicken stock
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 -3 fresh small Thai chilies (most seeds removed) chopped fine
- 1-2 large red chillies (seeds and ribs removed) sliced
- 2 1/2 by 3 cm strips lime zest (all traces of pith cut away)
- 2 fresh corn cobs, rubbed with oil and roasted in a 350F oven for 20 minutes
- 2 chicken breasts, sliced very thinly diagonally to the grain
- 4 ripe tomatoes, diced (skin and all)
- 1/4 cup roughly chopped fresh cilantro
- juice of 2 small limes
- salt, pepper
Combine stock, garlic, chillies and zest in a large pot and heat over medium, high heat. Meanwhile, use a sharp knife to cut the corn kernels from the roasted corn. Be careful if they are still hot out of the oven. Add the kernels to the pot.
Once the pot is simmering very well, add the sliced raw chicken and stir to separate the pieces. Bring the soup back up to the boil and cook just until the chicken is cooked through (check this by cutting pieces through the middle to check for pink). If you've sliced your chicken pretty thinly, this should only take a couple of minutes. The secret is to not overcook the chicken or it will become tough.
Once the chicken is cooked turn off the heat and remove the pan to a cool spot. Stir in the tomatoes, cilantro and lime juice. Add salt and pepper as necessary. Fish out the pieces of zest.
Yum. I like to eat this with toasted tortilla strips crumbled roughly over the top.