CHILEATOLE : Geen Chile Soup With Corn
Healthful and sustaining atoles, soups and drinks made from corn, are an ancient Mexican tradition. I once had this bright green soup at the Xochimilco market south of Mexico City, where it was paired with a warm cake of fresh ground corn toasted on an earthenware comal; it was like tasting Mexico as it was five hundred years ago. This historic area, which is close to the small farms that have fed the city for a thousand years, is a stronghold of traditional pre-Spanish culture and cooking. Despite being vegan and nearly fat-free, chileatole is filling and satisfying, so serve it in small portions. Use a light hand with the salt; the soup is mildly sweet from the corn.
SERVES 4 to 6
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 cup diced white onion
2 jalapeño chiles, stemmed, seeded and quartered
4 poblano chiles, roasted, seeded and diced
3 Anaheim chiles, roasted, seeded and diced
Kernels from 4 ears fresh corn (about 3 cups)
6 cups water, or more as needed
2 teaspoons kosher salt
10 large fresh epazote leaves, shredded (about 2 tablespoons)
½ bunch fresh cilantro, finely chopped
½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
In a 10-inch skillet, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the onion and all the chiles and cook, stirring, until the onion is soft and pale gold, about 5 minutes. Transfer to a 5- quart slow cooker.
Place the corn in a food processor and pulse several times, until the kernels are broken up but it is not quite smooth. Add the corn to the slow cooker along with the water and salt. Cover and cook on low for 6 hours.
Stir in the epazote, cilantro, and pepper. Working in batches, transfer the soup to a blender and puree until velvety smooth, or use an immersion blender to puree the soup in the slow cooker, which will result in a soup with more texture. If necessary, thin the soup with a little water. Taste and adjust the seasoning before serving.