Cooking With Cilantro: Sopa de Cilantro

<em>Serves 6 to 7<br />
<br />
</em>Even avowed cilantro haters take to this vivid green soup with its fresh, bright flavor.</p>
<p>• 6 flour or corn tortillas, cut into 1/4-by-2-inch strips<br />
• Canola oil<br />
• 2 cups spinach, loosely packed, washed and coarse stems removed<br />
• 6 to 7 cups chicken broth (see page 24)<br />
• 1 1/2 cups cilantro, tightly packed<br />
• 3 tablespoons butter<br />
• 1/2 white onion, finely chopped<br />
• 6 green onions with some tops, finely chopped<br />
• 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped<br />
• 3 serrano chiles (or to taste), finely chopped<br />
• Salt and pepper to taste<br />
• 2 avocados<br />
• Lime juice<br />
• 1/2 pound Monterey Jack cheese, cut into 1/4-inch cubes<br />
• Cilantro sprigs</p>
<p>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.</p>
<p>2. In a blender, puree the spinach with 2 cups of the chicken broth. Add the cilantro and blend coarsely.</p>
<p>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.</p>
<p>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.</p>
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<em>Lucinda Hutson is the author of</em> The Herb Garden Cookbook, 2nd edition <em>(Gulf, 1998) and</em> Tequila: Cooking with the Spirit of Mexico <em>(Ten Speed Press, 1996). She lives and gardens in Austin, Texas.</em>
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<strong>Cooking With Cilantro</strong>

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