So the plan today was to wake up early and head down to Union Square to see what's available at the green market. Things didn't quite work out the way they were supposed to though, and the day slipped by rather suddenly. I soon found myself sitting in a darkened living room as the sun slowly disappeared, a low growl in my stomach serving as a reminder that I hadn't eaten all day.
I wandered into the kitchen to make something, but opening the fridge proved disheartening; it's been a while since I've done any proper shopping. An odd mishmash of condiments, a few limes, a head of garlic, and one pack of spinach was about all I had inside. I toyed with the idea of ordering something in, but then I took another look. Though it didn't seem like much, I realized that I had more than enough for a delicious and filling soup.
What I made is a quick variation of the Yucatan soup known as Sopa de Lima, traditionally made with chicken parts and served with tortillas. I started with a wonderfully flavored chicken stock that I had frozen in cubes in the freezer, however in a pinch some canned stock or bouillon will also work. If I'd had fresh cilantro, I would have added that too, but I found that the dried coriander worked just as well, lending the soup another layer of citrusy aroma. The brightness of the limes pairs unexpectedly well with the earthy bitterness of the spinach. A few dried chilis, plus a drop of chili oil, added just enough heat, and some smoky cumin rounded out the flavors.
Ladeled into my favorite (and slightly chipped) terracotta bowl, it was a perfect light supper. The only thing missing was some fresh avocado and a sprinkle of cotija cheese. Next time, definitely!
Here's the recipe, just in time for Cinco de Mayo!
Mexican Lime Soup (with Spinach)
6 cups of vegetable or chicken broth
1 tablespoon of olive oil
12 oz spinach (preferably fresh, but frozen will do!)
1 lime, juiced
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground coriander
3 dried chilis
A dash of chili oil (optional)
1.) Heat the olive oil in a large, heavy-bottomed pot. Add the dried chilis, cumin, and coriander, and let cook in the oil for a minute to release the aromas of the spices.
2.) Pour in the 6 cups of chicken stock and bring to a boil.
3.) Add the spinach and cook for about two minutes.
4.) Add the lime juice, salt, pepper, and chili oil (if desired). Adjust the seasoning to your taste.
Serve with additional lime slices or fresh cotija cheese and cilantro, if desired.