April 23, 2010 11:30 AM
Avocado Soup with Queso Fresco

Though there are many kinds of avocado soups, this is my favorite. I tried it at the Mexican Ambassador's residence a couple months ago. As Doña Rosita, the cook,  heard me mmm, and mmm, and mmmmmmm all over again, she came out of the kitchen with a pen and a piece of paper ready to dictate her recipe.

What a surprise for such a tasty soup: just a handful of ingredients! Seems that what matters, again, is how you use them.

Doña Rosita told me she has tweaked her recipe through time. Also, she sometimes tops it with tortilla crisps, and sometimes with fresh croutons. Depends on the mood. But she always serves it with crumbled Queso Fresco. There you go! Another thing you can do with that Mexican Fresh Cheese, aside from a Green Salad and Enfrijoladas.

It is easy, tasty and sounds oh... so... fancy. Plus, it is wholesome. The only thing I added to Doña Rosita's recipe, is some fresh lime juice. I couldn't help it. So check it out, this is how it goes:

Chop a cupful of onion and add it to the already melted butter and hot oil.

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Cook the onion over low heat, for 12 to 15 minutes, or until it has gone from white, to translucent, to starting to brown around the edges.

See the onion down here, it is rendering and deepening its flavors...

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Add some fresh cilantro. Or if you are one of those people that can't stand cilantro, add another green herb of your choice: parsley, chives, tarragon or a combination, time to play!

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Cook the cilantro just until it has begun to wilt. It will be under a minute, just a stir here and there. We don't want it to brown.

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Then, scoop the fresh avocado meat out. A main tip to making this recipe be as delicious as it can be, is to use ripe, meaty avocados. So if that avocado is not giving in to your hold as you gently squeeze, it is not ready for you. Let it ripen some more. Make the soup another day.
If you have ripe avocados, cut in half, remove the seed, scoop the meat out and push it into the blender. You could add a bit of Chile too, Jalapeño, or Serrano. Though Doña Rosita doesn't.

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Now go ahead and add all that almost sweetened and browned onion, along with the wilted cilantro into the blender. Yep, along with whatever oil and butter remains too...

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Pour in some chicken broth. Home made or store bought. You can substitute for vegetable broth as well... Though I always go for the former.

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For my spin, take out your lime squeezer and add some fresh lime juice right in there too. You can try it without as well and then you get Doña Rosita's take on the soup.

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Sprinkle some Kosher or Sea salt... and puree it all.

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If you want the soup "al tiempo", or lukewarm, pour it right into your bowls. If you want to serve it cold, cover and refrigerate for a couple hours. Now, if you want it hot, you can as well! Just puree it with some hot chicken broth in the prior step... Talk about an accommodating soup.

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Sprinkle a few, or a ton, corn tortilla crisps.

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I guess I went for a ton.

Sprinkle some tangy and salty Queso Fresco...

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...and why not? You can decorate it with a slice of creamy and ripe avocado right on top.

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If you do, sprinkle a bit of salt on it... Fresh avocado always seems to beg for a little salt...

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There you go... A smooth, fresh, wholesome and tasty soup, with some crunchy tortilla crisps and a tangy bite from the Queso Fresco in every bite.

Avocado Soup 17.jpgI already had some...

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Serves 4 to 6

1 tablespoon corn or safflower oil
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 1/2 cup white onion, roughly chopped
1 cup cilantro leaves, rinsed and loosely packed
1 jalapeno chili, sliced in half, seeding optional if less heat is desired, optional
3 large ripe Mexican or Hass avocados, cut in half, seed removed, flesh spooned out (about 3 cups ripe avocado flesh)
6 cups chicken broth (can substitute vegetable broth)
1 tablespoon fresh lime or lima (sweet lime) juice
3/4 teaspoon kosher or sea salt, more or less to taste
1 1/2 cups tortilla crisps
1 cup queso fresco, crumbled (may substitute farmers cheese or a mild feta)

In a medium skillet, set over medium-low heat and add the butter and oil.  Once the butter dissolves, stir in the onion and jalapeno.  Let them cook, stirring occasionally, until the onion has softened,.  Its color will become translucent and the edges will begin to turn light brown, about 12 to 15 minutes.  Incorporate the cilantro leaves and mix them in with the onions and jalapeno.  Once the cilantro has wilted, 30 seconds to a minute later, turn off the heat.

Place the peeled and seeded avocados in the blender or food processor along with the cooked onion, jalapeno, cilantro, chicken broth, lime or lima juice and salt.  Puree until smooth, taste for salt and add more if need be.

You may serve bowls garnished with tortilla crisps and cheese, or let your guests garnish to their liking.