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Crema de Aguacate (Mexican Avocado Soup)

June 21, 2012

If there’s one ingredient that is already perfect, and rarely improved by cooking, it’s an avocado.

That might sound like a dissuasion from trying out this recipe; on the contrary, this recipe is special. This soup, though cooked, still tastes of creamy avocado heaven (with a touch of spice).

It turns out creamy avocado heaven has a secret ingredient! Avocado leaves.

I discovered this recipe in a cookbook gift from a friend called “Mayan Cuisine” (see full source below), and had even bookmarked this soup, since I love all things avocado. Back when I dog-eared the page, though, I probably assumed that I’d resort to substituting toasted ground anise seeds for the avocado leaves, since where does one get avocado leaves? Unless one has their own avocado tree… or some friends who do.

A few days ago I wrote about my unexpected– yet very welcome– apricot and avocado bounty. I owe the two enormous bags of avocados I’ve been cooking and eating my way through this week to the kindness of friends. (Thanks to one giant backyard avocado tree, and one day’s worth of farmer’s market wages– local almonds swapped for local avocados… I love living in California.)

The farmer’s market avocados still had stems and leaves attached! So when I flipped the Mayan cookbook open to this recipe, I actually had avocado leaves in the house! It was destiny.

I was curious about the use of avocado leaves as seasoning, since the cookbook itself didn’t say much besides the anise substitute suggestion, along with some advice on toasting leaves for flavor. But then I happened upon this lovely little explanation of avocado leaves which satisfied my curiosity enough for me to give it a try.

The hardest part was grinding the leaves, since neither my mini food processor nor my blender was that talented. My blender finally succeeded in shredding the leaves to an appropriately small size after I dropped in the serrano pepper and the roasted garlic (so it would have a bit more to work with).

And let me tell you something: I have always been tempted, then disappointed, by cold avocado soups, with cucumber, with cumin or curry powder, you name it, but THIS soup, with the heat of the serrano and the richness of the garlic, tomato, and chicken stock, this soup did not disappoint.

Print this recipe.

RECIPE:

Crema de Aguacate (Mexican Avocado Soup)
Adapted from Mayan Cuisine: Recipes from the Yucatán Region, by Daniel Hoyer.

(Serves 4 to 6)

Ingredients:
~ 1 medium tomato, roasted or charred
~ 4 cloves garlic, roasted and peeled
~ 2-3 Mexican avocado leaves, toasted and ground (or ¼ tsp. toasted ground anise seed)
~ ½ cup chopped white onion
~ 1 Tbsp. canola or vegetable oil
~ 1-2 serrano or jalapeño chiles, seeds removed
~ 3½-4 cups chicken or vegetable broth
~ 3 large ripe Hass avocados
~ ⅓ cup light cream (or half-and-half)
~ 1-2 Tbsp. lime juice, or to taste
~ salt and pepper to taste
OPTIONAL:
~ ¼ cup fresh cilantro, chopped
~ sliced radishes, to garnish
~ tortilla chips, to garnish
~ lime slices, to garnish
~ sour cream or Mexican crema, to garnish
~ cilantro sprigs, to garnish

How to make it:

1. Char the tomato over a flame, or roast in the oven, along with the garlic, at 350 degrees for 15-20 minutes. Let the tomato cool, then peel and dice it. Peel the roasted garlic.

2. Toast fresh or dried avocado leaves on a heated dry skillet or a comal for up to a minute on each side, or until fragrant. Then remove leaf ribs and grind with a mortar and pestle or in a coffee grinder or blender. (To make it easier for my blender to handle the leaves, I threw in the roasted garlic and the serrano pepper at the same time.)

      

3. Sauté the onion in the oil until soft and just beginning to brown. Add the diced tomato and fry for 2 more minutes.

4. Add the chile, garlic, ground avocado leaves, and the broth, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 10 minutes.

5. Peel and coarsely chop the avocados and add to the broth with the lime juice (and optionally the ¼ cup chopped cilantro). Remove from the heat and let cool for 10-15 minutes before adding the cream.

6. Purée in a blender, adjust the salt, pepper, and lime juice to taste, and chill for 1-2 hours before serving. (Or serve warm!)

Print this recipe!

Related recipe posts:
> Chilaquiles Verdes and Roasted Tomatillo Salsa
> Gazpacho Soup
> Lentil Green Bean Avocado Salad with Vinaigrette

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26 Comments leave one →
  1. June 21, 2012 10:11 am

    This looks great, and a wonderful recipe. We wil try this. Thanks!

  2. June 21, 2012 11:32 am

    I love avocado soup but have never made. I might need to try! Thanks for sharing!

  3. June 21, 2012 11:37 am

    Wow, I must make this. Looks amazing.

    • June 21, 2012 4:36 pm

      Thanks, and yes, it was really good– much better than any avocado soup I’d ever made in the past (most of which just required blending, not cooking).

  4. June 21, 2012 11:47 am

    Reblogged this on lesley-anne pittard and commented:
    This looks so yummy!! Can’t wait to try

  5. June 21, 2012 5:26 pm

    Very interesting that avocado leaves have an anise aroma! The fruit itself would never make me think of anise. Thanks for that information. Now I need to go find some avocado leaves. This soup looks delicious. Definitely something I would love to try!

    • June 24, 2012 10:41 am

      Yes, I was surprised by that too, since I agree that avocado itself would never make me think of anise. And while I definitely think the toasted leaves contributed a lot of flavor to the soup, the aroma didn’t actually seem that anise-like to me. (Usually I don’t like black licorice / anise flavors, but had no problem with the avocado leaves!)

  6. June 25, 2012 8:30 am

    I wanna live in California! I want these things to be fresh and local! So so jealous. This looks delish, I love love avocado.

    • June 25, 2012 9:51 am

      I know, California is wonderful. I grew up in Wisconsin (and have lived in lots of other places, too), so I also know what it’s like not to live this way… I am temporarily very spoiled.

  7. June 27, 2012 2:28 am

    A delightful & well flavoured soup! MMM!

  8. June 28, 2012 10:24 am

    yum! this sounds delicious…anything avocado is amazing but I have never seen it in soup form!

    • June 28, 2012 1:52 pm

      Yeah, it’s kind of unusual I guess, though I’ve seen recipes for cold curried avocado soup before, but this one’s much better in my opinion, because of the tomatoes, stock, and toasted leaves.

  9. August 23, 2012 12:55 pm

    Have you tried blending an avocado/alligator pear with palm sugar and throwing a straw in for good measure? Those make my day when in Jakarta.

    • August 23, 2012 5:26 pm

      Not quite, but I do have a post about Vietnamese Avocado Smoothies! You should take a look… (Though your way sounds even simpler!)

  10. September 17, 2012 7:43 am

    This is really awesome… Will make avocado soup this weekend!

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