August 08, 2012

Avocado and Tomatillo Soup

One of the best parts of sticking around DC after graduation has been having most of my friends from college still here.  A few weeks ago, a bunch of us went out to the new Mike Isabella mexican restaurant Bandolero to catch up, have margaritas on tap, and enjoy Top Chef alum fare.  And it was GOOD!  Duck confit in the queso fundido, crazy delicious tacos, and the dish that completely caught my eye tomatillo and avocado gazpacho.  It was a cold and creamy soup with tiny pieces of tequilla-soaked watermelon and orange sprinkled throughout like jewels.  After the soup got passed around the table for everyone to try, I finished it slowly because I knew I wanted to recreate the dish myself.

I was reminded of the dish a couple of weeks ago when Bandolero was doing demos at the Dupont farmer's market so I picked up some fresh tomatillos and got to work!  After taking off the outer husk, I removed the core and then used my food processor to buzz them all up.  I strained the pulverized tomatillos through a sieve and then used a stick blender to add avocado, sour cream, lime juice, and garlic.  Topped with teeny pieces of watermelon and orange supremes, it was a beautiful and healthy dinner without the trek to M street!

Girls night is headed to dim sum soon, expect barbecue pork buns to follow that one!

Avocado and Tomatillo Soup
8-10 tomatillos, husks and cores removed
1 avocado, mashed
1 lime, zest and juice
1/4 cup sour cream
1/4 - 1/2 cup chicken stock
1/2 teaspoon agave nectar
1 tablespoon roasted garlic (or 1 small clove regular garlic, minced very finely)
salt and pepper to taste

For garnish: finely cubed watermelon, finely cubed orange supremes (segments)

Begin by buzzing up the cleaned up tomatillos in a food processor or blender until there are almost no chunks.  Like super fine, guys.  Pour the buzzed up tomatillos into a sieve over a bowl to get just the juice.

Add the mashed avocado, lime zest and juice, and sour cream to the tomatillo juice and buzz up with an immersion blender or real blender (not food processor, too much liquid!).  Add the chicken stock a little at a time, until you have your desired consistency.

Add the agave nectar, garlic, and season with salt and pepper to taste.  If you want it to be more acidic, add a little more lime juice; sweeter, more agave nectar.

Garnish with finely cubed watermelon and orange supremes.  To make a supreme: cut the top and bottom off the orange, slice off the outer peel and pith, and then slice into the orange to cut out each segment.


  1. Looks delish, Sarah. I envy your abiltiy to taste something and then interpret all the flavors in your own kitchen. I like to cook and bake and although I frequently interpret recipes based on my family's tastes, I need some guidelines to start me off.

    1. karen -

      basically, a life long obsession with food as well as being most self and food network taught is how I've been able to recreate. I'm an engineer slash lab researcher so I love to figure things out, flavors being one of them. There have been failures, oh boy there have been, but its been a lot of practice. Whenever I'm eating something, I am that person at the table that's like oh i know there is (THIS INGREDIENT) in here! I've done it so much with my family that my sister beat me to the punch the other day when she picked out tamarind in a peanut sauce (which was freaking genius move both for the restaurant and her, I couldn't have been more proud).

      I don't know if I'm an authority at all on this, but I remember that episode of blindfold tasting they had to do on Top Chef. Small bites, lots of water in between. This has worked for me, although in this instance it was margarita one sip and water the next. I knew there was avocado and tomatillo because of the name, and there was a creamyness and tang that I attributed to the sour cream. The rest? Chicken stock to add depth and thin it out, lime because the soup was a beautiful pale color and the acid was needed to keep it that way, and garlic because I love garlic (sorry mike, if it's missing from yours). I skipped soaking my watermelon and orange in tequilla because I didn't like it in the original.

      So to sum up - small bites, water, get creative, and keep trying. And if all else fails, make friends with the chef and ask! I've done it a few times at my favorite small places and I've usually gotten the info I needed to put the pieces together.

      Good Luck!

  2. This soup looks very nice and healthy to me with lots of tomatillos in it.

    Got to know your blog via Twitter and now following you :D


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