Well folks, I’m on Day 9 of the Whole30 Challenge. In case you don’t know what I’m talking about, head over to my last post for a comprehensive rundown.
I recently read this article that outlined all the ups and downs that I might need to brace myself for along the way. I am past the point of needlessly picking fights with friends and wanting to build a pillow fort under my desk in the middle of the afternoon but I’m still a far cry from the feeling of invincibility I’m told I can expect later on in this spirit quest.
At the moment, I would kill for a slice of pie. I went to see the musical Waitress at the National Arts Centre on Sunday. A show that features about 100 pies and as many songs about pies. I left with a fearsome craving for a slice of key lime pie or strawberry rhubarb.
So far, I have survived two social outings where friends were drinking and I abstained. I’m not even a beer drinker but the smell of hoppy craft beer smelled like nectar of the gods to me at the time.
Aside from my current state of ravenous cravings, I’ve come to realize that the hardest part of this challenge is finding social activities that don’t revolve around eating and drinking. As you may have guessed, and this may be true in your own life, most social gatherings are centred on a food or drink experience – grabbing drinks after work, going for brunch, or even having popcorn at the movies.
The only remedy for this is to plan meticulously. I am hosting more than going out so I can control the ingredients that end up on my plate and showing my friends in the process that even a diet as restrictive as Whole30 doesn’t need to taste like deprivation and misery. This past weekend, I hosted a couple of friends for dinner and prepared a Whole30 compliant sous vide steak with chimichurri sauce, baked sweet potato fries, and roasted broccoli with a lemon shallot dressing.
The meal received rave reviews from my friends and no one went hungry. The key to success with this challenge is meal planning, so I bought twice the amount of steak I needed and repurposed the remainder in a steak salad I’ll be sharing later this week.
I took the same approach with the One-Pot Greek Roast Chicken with Asparagus and Potatoes I made last week. I get desperately bored if I eat the same meal over and over again so after having the roast chicken for a couple of meals I took the remaining cooked chicken breast and leg and tossed them into this delicious soup.
Not to toot my own horn, but this might be the best chicken soup I’ve had, ever. The cilantro and lime puree adds an incredible citrusy brightness and great scent. By adding the cooked chicken just at the end, instead of cooking the chicken in the soup, you get moist strips of chicken that still have plenty of flavour and aren’t stringy or overcooked. The potatoes make it hearty and toothsome.
If you haven’t roasted your own chicken, you could always buy a rotisserie chicken from the grocery store and use half of it in this recipe.
All in all, I’m delighted with how this recipe turned out and that I was able to deliver another tasty Whole30 concoction – delicious whether you’re doing the challenge or just want a hearty soup to get through winter.
Puree cilantro, scallions, lime juice, garlic, and 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a blender or the small bowl of a food processor until smooth, about 45 seconds. Set aside.
Heat remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a large pot or Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add onion and red pepper. Cook, stirring often, until onion is transluscent and bell pepper has begun to soften, about 4 minutes. Stir in cumin and crushed red pepper flakes. Cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 3 minutes.
Add broth, potatoes, carrots, salt, and black pepper: bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer until carrots and potatoes are cooked through (can be easily pierced with a fork), about 30 minutes.
Meanwhile, discard skin from rotisserie/roast chicken breasts and/or legs. I used one breast and one leg. Remove meat from the bones using a knife or your hands. Slice chicken into thin strips.
Once the soup has simmered for 30 minutes, add the sliced chicken and frozen peas to the pot. Cook over medium-low until warmed through, 2 to 3 minutes. Stir in cilantro lime puree.
Recipe adapted from: Karnasiewicz, Sarah. “Peruvian-Style Chicken Soup with Cilantro and Lime.” Real Simple. January 2020.