|Toppings Add Character|
Recipe by Robin, Inspired by The Lunch Box
Earlier this month, I couldn’t quite grok the fact that my friend and neighbor James harvested 98 limes from his deck-cultivated, in-container dwarf tree. Serious citrus in the Santa Cruz mountains? From a deck? But as a result, we were blessed with over a dozen limes, which I’d said I could use to make chili lime chicken soup. “I’d like that recipe,” responded James, a lover of all spicy foods. But actually, there was no recipe, just a vague recollection of a delicious soup sold by the now-defunct Lunch Box, which used to deliver lunches and goodies to my day job. I remembered that it was a simple soup with numerous toppings that could be added to tweak the flavor. So I proceeded with the experiment. My first attempt was given the seal of approval (ie. was nearly polished off) at our monthly game night potluck. And so, by special request…a recipe for game night host James.
|Healthy, Delicious Blend of Veggies|
|Anatomy of an Active Ingredient|
|Red = Sweet, Green = Hot|
|Little Time, Much Flavor|
This soup is perfect for warming up on a cold late fall night, like tonight. The topping tray makes an impressive presentation at potlucks, though I can’t show you a photo at the moment because my fellow gamers made short work of it, the ultimate compliment to a cook. I’ll post a photo of your topping tray if you email it to me (seasonaleating [at] gmail.com). Enjoy, and stay warm!
serves about 8
1¾ lbs. bone-in chicken breasts
~1 tsp. olive oil
1 large onion (~9.5 oz)
3 cloves garlic
1 large or 3 small tomatoes (~8 oz.)
3 small sweet red peppers, or 1 large red bell pepper (~6 oz.)
4 – 6 small jalapeno peppers
1 tbsp. chili Mex mix*
2 quarts chicken stock
½ cup fresh lime juice (~6 limes)
2 tsp. grey salt, divided
5 - 6 corn tortillas
~1 tsp. olive oil
~ ½ tsp. sea salt
4 oz. Monterey Jack cheese
2 – 3 limes for garnish
1 - 2 jalapenos for garnish
*or substitute 1 tsp. chili powder + 1 tsp. dry oregano + ¼ tsp. ground cumin + ½ bay leaf
Prepare chicken and veggies:
Remove skin from chicken breasts.
Dice onion into ½ inch pieces. Heat skillet over medium high heat and coat bottom thinly with about 1 tsp. olive oil. Add onion and cook until onions start to get golden, about 3 – 4 minutes, stirring often. Remove from heat.
Chop tomatoes into medium size chunks and do not discard liquid or seeds.
Cut sweet red peppers into thin strips. Using gloves or cutting with knife and fork, remove seeds from jalapenos and cut into small strips. You could choose instead to add some of the seeds to the soup—if you like it hot.
Add chicken, onions, garlic, red peppers, jalapenos, chili Mex mix, chicken stock, lime juice, and 1 teaspoon grey salt to 4-quart soup pot. Bring to boil. Simmer for about 45 - 50 minutes, until chicken is cooked through.
Prepare toppings (while soup is simmering):
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Brush tortillas with olive oil on one side. Stack up two tortillas and cut into thin strips (about 3/8 inch x 1¼ inch). Place strips on baking sheet close together but not overlapping. Sprinkle with about ½ teaspoon salt. Bake until lightly golden brown, about 12 – 15 minutes. Check at about 6 minutes to be sure they’re baking evenly; if not, rotate pan 180 degrees. Remove from oven and cool.
Dice avocados into 1-inch chunks. Sprinkle with lime juice to prevent them from browning.
Cut extra limes into wedges.
Cut extra jalapenos into rounds, without removing seeds.
Pile toppings onto plate to serve with soup. Put jalapenos into separate cup or dish.
When chicken is cooked, remove soup from heat. Remove chicken from soup to cool. When cool enough to handle, remove chicken from bones. Shred or cut into bite-sized pieces. Return chicken to soup pot.