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Chayote Chile Soup

Roasted mild poblano chile provides raisin-y smokiness, while jalapeño and serranos add the perfect spiciness. Cilantro brightens the pale green chayote squash and brown rice thickens the vegetable broth. It all gets pureed into this velvety smooth chayote chile soup.

chayote chile soup

It’s easy to slip into “Baja-itis” here–seems like it takes all day to do nothing. I’ve lost any semblance of organization, since most things on my list can be put off until mañana. I did get it together to create this tasty green chayote chile soup—and just in time for St. Patrick’s Day.

chayote, chile and rice in soup pot for chayote chile soup

Cactus-filled desert hikes and long walks on the beach are wonderfully distracting, but I’m always planning our next meal. Gracias a Dios for Mexico’s abundant fresh vegetables–I can’t resist buying the organic local produce. Our fridge is so full, Robbie thinks I won’t use it up before it goes bad. Wrong.

chayotes and cilantro for chayote chile soup

Our friends here in Los Barriles plant lettuce, chard, spinach and tomatoes in their gardens and share their harvest with us. On Fridays the vegetable man sells rancho eggs and veggies out of his truck under the shade tree at a nearby trailer park. This little town in southern Baja is good living.

chayote toothless face thinking about chayote chile soup

Have you met chayotes—the pear shaped, light green squash? With their rough wrinkly ridges and tucked-in bottoms they look like a toothless old face. Some call chayote vegetable pears; in the Southern U.S. they’re called mirltons.

chayotes cut for chayote chile soup

Chayotes play especially well with fresh green chiles and cilantro as this soup demonstrates. I wanted to share this tasty vegetable with you, but if you can’t find chayotes, substitute zucchini. This soup is so easy and tasty you’ll love it with both chayote and zucchini!

blistered poblano chile for chayote chile soup

Serve your chayote chile soup with cumin vinaigrette-dressed romaine lettuce salad, like this one with crisp jicama, oranges and grapefruit. Warm cheesy quesadilla wedges go nicely as well, or, even easier, a stack of warm corn tortillas!

Chayote Chile Soup kitchen notes:

  • Never touch your eyes or sensitive body parts when prepping chiles.
  • Be careful to insulate your skin from the heat of chiles, with gloves, or using a tool to keep your hands off the chiles. A grapefruit spoon with it’s serrated edge is perfect. One spoon holds the skinny end of a halved chile, while the second serrated spoon scrapes away the seeds and veins.

serrano and jalapeño chiles deveined for chayote chile soup

  • An immersion blender is perfect for pureeing this soup.
  • If you puree the soup in a blender jar, let the soup cool about 10 minutes first. Then blend in batches, each batch filling less than half of the blender container. (If you blend it all at once, you could end up with a huge hot exploded mess on the counter.) Pour from the blender back into the soup pot, stir and reheat.

What am I grateful for? My Irish blood, cilantro and colorful tableware. What are you thankful for today? Share your thanks in the comment section below the recipe.

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Print
Chayote Chile Soup
Ingredients
  • 3 chayote squash
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 medium onion chopped (about 1 ½ cups)
  • 3 garlic cloves , minced
  • 6 cups vegetable stock
  • 1 poblano chile , roasted, peeled and coarsely chopped
  • 1 jalapeño chile , seeds and veins removed, chopped
  • 1 serrano chile , seeds and veins removed, chopped
  • 1 cup cooked brown or white rice
  • ¼ cup plus another ¼ cup coarsely chopped cilantro leaves
  • ½ to 1 teaspoon salt , depending on how salty the broth
  • Cilantro leaves
  • Green onion , sliced crosswise
  • Avocado slices , optional
Instructions
  1. Peel the chayotes. Cut then in half lengthwise, following the indent at the bottom of the fruit. Cut out the seed and white part—like coring a pear. Don’t worry if you don’t get all the skin off—chayote skin is edible. Cut the squash into rough cubes.
  2. Heat the oil in a soup pot over medium flame. Add the onion and cook and stir until the onion is translucent, 5 to 10 minutes. Stir in the garlic and cook a few minutes more.
  3. Add the vegetable stock, the prepared poblano, jalapeño and serrano chiles, the rice, and the first ¼ cup of cilantro. Cover and simmer until the chayote is soft, 15 minutes or so. Remove from the heat.
  4. If you have an immersion blender, place it directly in the soup pot and whir until everything is smooth. Blend in the second ¼ cup of cilantro until the leaves are tiny flecks. place it directly in the soup pot and whir until everything is smooth. Blend in the second ¼ cup of cilantro until the leaves are tiny flecks.
  5. If you puree the soup in a blender jar, it’s a good idea to let the soup cool about 10 minutes. Remember to puree in batches, each batch filling less than half of the blender container. Blend the second ¼ cup of cilantro into one of the batches. Pour from the blender into another soup pot, stir and reheat. (If you blend it all in one batch, you will find out why not to—at the same time making a huge hot exploded mess on the counter.)
  6. Taste the soup and season with salt as needed. (See note.)
  7. Ladle into bowls. Garnish with cilantro, green onion and avocado.
Recipe Notes
Cooked rice to me is an essential ingredient in this recipe. It softens in the simmer and takes the soup from what might be watery into perfectly thickened. The vegetable stock was left from cooking white beans. Some of beans remained in the bottom of liquid, so I dumped them into the soup, not bothering to strain them out. My vegetable stock was unsalted, so I snuck in a vegetable bouillon cube, out of a package I brought with me to Mexico.

11 comments

  • Patricia Constable

    Hi Letty, Sitting here looking out at the snow, 5″ last night. Been busy with massage. No skiing for me today. Reading your blog put a smile on my face. Hope you and Robbie are enjoying your new casa. Sounds like life has slowed to a nice pace. Be Well, Patricia Reply · 11 March, 2014

    • Letty

      Thanks for the note Patricia. That’s my goal, put a smile on your face and a new recipe in your repertoire. Reply · 11 March, 2014

  • Lisa A

    I’m thankful for your post — puts a smile on my face too (it’s catching) and now I know what to do with Chayote when I’m in Cabo! I’m grateful for my Irish roots, my grandmother, Margaret McNamara, who loved to jig and my Dad, who instilled in me a love of Celtic music! Reply · 11 March, 2014

    • Letty

      I too am grateful for Celtic music. Thanks for the comment Lisa. Reply · 12 March, 2014

  • Diane

    your description of Baja life leaves me longing to be back…..the wonderful recipe is printed and in my “take to Mexico” folder. Miss you all! Reply · 14 March, 2014

    • Letty

      Thanks Diane. And you can practice the soup at home beforehand. Reply · 15 March, 2014

  • The soup looks fabulous and living in Baja even better. Reply · 14 March, 2014

    • Letty

      Thanks Barbara,
      yes this Baja life becomes addicting. As you can see I am truly having fun in the kitchen. Reply · 15 March, 2014

  • Where in Baja are you? If you are anywhere near the Valle de Guadalupe you must visit it. I hope to go back in May. It’s my new fav place to be. Restaurant recs on my blog. GREG Reply · 18 March, 2014

  • Syd Reed

    I am now in Florida and am reminded of the lazy days of your life in Baja. Loving the warmth, fresh food and fruits, and finding your recipes nice to have handy. Welcome back Letty, thanks for your blog.
    Syd. Reply · 14 April, 2014

    • Letty

      Thanks Syd. All the fresh food and fruits–enjoy the. We ate pink grapefruit every day and papaya too. Reply · 14 April, 2014

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