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A Cooking Adventure with Thom

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Chicken, Tortilla, and Lime Soup

Soup for Supper Cook Book
Williams - Sonoma

Servings: 6


In this classic soup, called "sopa de lima", from Mexico's Yucatan region, the chicken is not cooked directly in the stock because it will make it cloudy.  Be careful not to add too much chili or the soup may be too fiery for comfort.  You want to maintain a good balance between the tartness of the lime and the heat of the chilies.  One large avocado, halved, pitted, peeled, and diced, makes a soothing garnish to the spicy broth.  Although it's not authentic, 1 cup corn kernels may be added to the soup with the tomatoes.


4 quarts Chicken stock
vegetable oil, for frying
3 corn tortillas, cut into 2" strips
1¼ pounds boneless skinless chicken breast
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 large chopped yellow onions
2 tablespoons minced garlic
3 teaspoons finely minced jalapeno, with or without seeds
1½ cups tomatoes, peeled, seeded and diced
6 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
6 tablespoons fresh lime juice
1½ teaspoons salt
½ teaspoon freshly ground pepper
12 paper-thin lime slices, cut into quarters

Cooking Method

In a large saucepan over high heat, bring 3 and one-half quarts of the stock to a boil. 

  • Reduce the heat so the stock boils gently and boil until reduced by half to about 7 cups, about 30 minutes.


  1. Pour vegetable oil into a deep frying pan of a depth of 2 inches and heat to 375° F on a deep frying thermometer. 

  2. Working in batches, drop in the tortilla strips and fry until golden and crisp, about 2 minutes. 

  3. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the fried tortilla strips to paper towels to drain.

In a saucepan...

  1. Combine the chicken breasts with the remaining 2 cups stock. 

  2. Bring to a simmer and cook gently until the chicken is opaque throughout when cut into with a knife, about 8 minutes. 

  3. Transfer to a cutting board and, when cool enough to handle, cut the chicken breasts into bite-sized pieces. 

  4. Set aside. 

Discard the stock or reserve for another use.

  • If not using immediately, cover and refrigerate.  

In a large saucepan over medium heat, warm the olive oil. 

  1. Add the onion and sauté, stirring occasionally, until tender and translucent, about 10 minutes. 

  2. Add the garlic and jalapeno chili and cook for 1-2 minutes to soften.

  3. Add the reduced stock, raise the heat to high, and bring to a boil. 

  4. Reduce the heat to low.

  5. Add the cooked chicken, the tomatoes, cilantro, lime juice, salt, and pepper, and simmer until the chicken is heated through, about 5 minutes. 

  6. Taste and adjust the seasonings.

  7. Ladle the hot soup into warmed bowls. 

  8. Sprinkle the lime pieces and tortilla strips evenly over the tops. 

 Serve immediately.

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