Chileatole verde is not a soup that I grew up enjoying, but since I discovered it a few years back, I can’t get enough! Chile means chile, like fresh or dried chiles. And atole means a thick, hot beverage. Atoles can be sweet or in this case savory. Basically what chileatole is, it’s a combination of chiles, broth and masa. Depending on what kind of chiles you use, the soup will either be red or green most times. The first few times I prepared chileatole I added chicken and all that delicious chicken stock from cooking the chicken! Of course, when I don’t have chicken to cook, I will use a good quality store bought chicken stock, soup base and yes even the bouillon if needed. When you get a craving, you learn to adapt. The traditional chileatole is prepared with fresh masa that is blended and cooked down with the broth. For today’s version, I use masa harina. It gives the soup a subtle flavor of the nixtamal(corn) and also thickens the soup slightly. The more you add, the more flavor and the thicker it will be. This style of soup is popular in Veracruz, Puebla, Oaxaca, Morelos and Tlaxcala. It definitely has become more mainstream in the last couple of years with the explosion of authentic Mexican food scene!
Yields 4 Servings
6 cups chicken broth( or broth of your choice)
3 jalapeños or 5 serranos, sliced(add half for a more mild version)
Hearty handful of fresh cilantro
Small handful of fresh epazote leaves
2 cloves garlic, previously roasted
1/4 section of white onion, previously roasted
Salt to taste
1/2 cup masa harina
3/4 cup water or broth
Lime, onion, sliced jalapeños…
First, dry roast the garlic and onion on a preheated comal or small skillet at medium heat. Roast for 15 minutes, turning as needed.
In a pot, heat 4 cups of the broth to medium heat, reserving 2 cups for later.
Remove skins from garlic and transfer to the blender. Also to the blender, add the onion, jalapeño, cilantro, epazote, 1 cup of broth and salt to taste. Blend on high until smooth and strain into warming broth.
In a bowl, whisk together, until smooth, the masa harina with remaining cup of broth. Pour the masa slurry into the simmering broth, whisking the whole time. Cook at a low simmer for 10-15 minutes. Taste for salt. Garnish!
My garnishes today were whatever I had available on this day. I fried up some homemade tortilla strips from tortillas I had previously prepared. The flavor and texture was soooo good!! I also garnished with some store bought chicharron(pork rinds), fresh avocado, cilantro, lime, onion and sliced chile jalapeño.
I served about 1 1/4 cups of chileatole per bowl and then added garnishes, to taste. It’s a tasty starter or light meal with a salad.
For a quick chicken version pick up a previously roasted chicken from your local market. Easy!