Serves 6 to 7
Even avowed cilantro haters take to this vivid green soup with its fresh, bright flavor.
• 6 flour or corn tortillas, cut into 1/4-by-2-inch strips
• Canola oil
• 2 cups spinach, loosely packed, washed and coarse stems removed
• 6 to 7 cups chicken broth (see page 24)
• 1 1/2 cups cilantro, tightly packed
• 3 tablespoons butter
• 1/2 white onion, finely chopped
• 6 green onions with some tops, finely chopped
• 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
• 3 serrano chiles (or to taste), finely chopped
• Salt and pepper to taste
• 2 avocados
• Lime juice
• 1/2 pound Monterey Jack cheese, cut into 1/4-inch cubes
• Cilantro sprigs
1. Fry the tortilla strips in a skillet containing 1/2 inch of hot oil, turning occasionally. When they are crisp and golden brown, drain them on paper towels.
2. In a blender, puree the spinach with 2 cups of the chicken broth. Add the cilantro and blend coarsely.
3. In a large saucepan, melt the butter and sauté the onions, garlic, and serranos. Add the pureed mixture and 4 cups of broth. Simmer for 12 minutes. Thin the soup if necessary with additional broth. Add salt and pepper to taste.
4. Meanwhile, slice the avocados and drizzle with lime juice. Serve the soup in bowls, garnished with crisp tortilla strips, cheese, avocado, and cilantro sprigs.
Lucinda Hutson is the author of The Herb Garden Cookbook, 2nd edition (Gulf, 1998) and Tequila: Cooking with the Spirit of Mexico (Ten Speed Press, 1996). She lives and gardens in Austin, Texas.
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Cooking With Cilantro