|Yucatan Lemon Soup|
Jan 14th, 2007
Lemon perked up the Celeriac Smash I wrote about in my last post, and it serves the same function for this clear broth flecked with pink shrimp and green cilantro. The recipe calls for Meyer Lemon instead of the traditional lime, but I had some Sweet Limes on hand that I wanted to try. These yellow fruit look like lemons, have a rind that smells like citronella candles, and flesh that tastes sweet with hardly any acid tang at all. I used the Sweet Lime rind and mixed the juice with a little regular lemon juice to add some needed acidity. Similarly, the original recipe suggested substituting 1/3 orange juice and 2/3 regular lemon if you can't get your hands on a Meyer Lemon.
To make the broth for this soup you simmer chicken broth with the lemon or lime rind, onion, jalapeno, and some sweet spices - cloves, cumin, and cinnamon sticks. I had a few other things going on in the kitchen while I was making this, and I let the broth sit steeping for quite a bit longer than the 20 minutes called for in the recipe. I really liked the deep aromatic sweetness this lent to the soup, and I think it's worth taking your time and making a double batch of the broth on a weekend or slow evening. With already prepped broth in your fridge or freezer all you have to do is shell some shrimp, warm your broth, and add lemon juice, hot sauce, and cilantro to taste. I went pretty heavy on the hot sauce and lemon/lime juice and it was just the thing for a cold rainy night - sort of like a Mexican style pho (actually along those lines some slippery noodles probably wouldn't be a bad thing at all to throw in there).
Yucatan Lemon Soupmakes 4 cups soup4 cups reduced-sodium chicken broth
1 medium onion, cut into quarters
2 jalapeno peppers, seeded and quartered
8 cloves garlic, crushed and peeled
3 tbsp finely grated Meyer lemon zest (or regular lemons or sweet limes)
1/2 tsp cumin seeds
1 4-inch cinnamon stick
4 whole cloves
1 lb raw shrimp (26-30 per pound), peeled and deveined
3 tbsp Meyer lemon juice (or combination orange or sweet lime and regular lemon juice)
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp hot sauce, or to taste
1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro
Put the chicken broth, onion, jalapeno peppers, garlic, lemon zest, cumin seeds, cinnamon stick, and cloves in a soup kettle and bring them to a simmer. Cover, lower the heat, and simmer for 20 minutes.
Strain the broth through a seive and discard the solids. The broth can be refrigerated or frozen for later at this point. If serving immediately, return the broth to the pot and bring to a low boil. Add the shrimp, lemon juice, salt, and hot sauce. Cook briefly until the shrimp are pink and firm, add the cilantro, and serve.
-Eating Well, January/February 2007