Mexican Squash Soup
This Mexican squash soup is packed with vitamins and scented with garlic, cilantro, and nutmeg. It tastes light and fresh but is also wonderfully warming on a winter night. It can be as spicy or mild as you like; simply omit, reduce, or increase the number of chiles to suit your taste.
Total Time: 50 minutes
Hands-On Time: 30 minutes
Yield: 4 to 6 servings
- 4 large zucchini or summer squash or 2 medium-size chayotes (see “Note”)
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1 small yellow onion, diced
- 4 large garlic cloves, roughly chopped
- 4 bay leaves
- 1-1/2 teaspoons kosher or sea salt, plus more to taste
- 3-1/2 cups reduced-sodium chicken or vegetable broth
- 4 ounces fresh spinach, stemmed and roughly chopped (about 4 cups)
- 1 or 2 poblano chiles, roasted, peeled, and seeded
- 6 sprigs cilantro, stems and leaves roughly chopped
- 1/2 to 1 small jalapeño pepper, stem and seeds removed, cut into quarters (optional)
- 1 cup whole milk
- 1/4 teaspoon grated nutmeg
- 1/4 cup sour cream
If you’re using zucchini or summer squash, trim the blossom ends and cut into 1-inch pieces. If you’re using chayotes, peel, remove pits, and cut into 1-inch pieces. Set aside.
Melt the butter in a 3- to 4-quart pot over medium-high heat. Add the onion, garlic, bay leaves, and salt. Cook, stirring, 1 minute; then add the squash. Cook 5 more minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the broth, increase heat to high, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer and cook until the squash is very soft, 8 to 10 more minutes. Add the spinach, poblano chiles, cilantro, and jalapeño, and cook 8 minutes.
Transfer the mixture to a blender and purée until smooth. Return the soup to the pot and reduce heat to low. Add the milk and nutmeg and check seasonings; add more salt if needed. Cook 10 more minutes, to let the flavors combine. Stir in the sour cream just before serving. Serve hot.
Chayotes are pear-shaped fruits, common in the Veracruz region of Mexico where Aracely Rojas grew up; their flavor is much like that of summer squash. Either chayotes, zucchini, or summer squash will work well in this recipe.