Cilantro Soup (Sopa de Cilantro)
The distinctive flavor of cilantro is the major ingredient in this light, willow green soup, which makes an excellent first course for a dinner party.
- 2 cups milk
- 2 bay leaves
- 2 Tbs. unsalted butter
- 1 tsp. safflower or canola oil
- 1/3 white onion, coarsely chopped
- 3 Tbs. all-purpose flour
- 2 bunches fresh cilantro, main stems removed
- 4 cups chicken broth
- 1/4 tsp. freshly ground white pepper
- Sea salt, to taste
- 1/2 cup crema or crème fraîche
- 1 cup totopos (see related recipe at left)
- 1/4 lb. queso fresco, crumbled
In a saucepan over medium heat, combine the milk and bay leaves and bring slowly to a gentle boil. Remove from the heat and let cool slightly.
In a heavy fry pan over medium heat, melt the butter with the oil. Add the onion and sauté until translucent, about 3 minutes. Add the flour and cook, stirring often, until quite thick, 3 to 5 minutes.
Remove the bay leaves from the milk and discard. Gradually add the hot milk to the onion mixture, stirring constantly. Cook over medium heat, continuing to stir, until slightly thickened, about 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and let cool slightly.
Working in batches, pour the onion-milk mixture into a blender, add the cilantro and process until smooth. Pour the puree into a large saucepan and place over medium heat. Gradually stir in the broth, white pepper and salt and cook, stirring occasionally, for 10 minutes. Stir in the creme and simmer until just heated through.
Ladle the soup into warmed bowls and sprinkle the totopos and cheese on top. Serve immediately. Serves 6.