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Creamy Mexican Chayote Soup

(Sopa de Chayote)

A delicate and interesting prelude to spicy Mexican food--or to the most elegant many-course meal. Serve hot to 4 as a first course.

Garnish: slices of green onion , cilantro leaves, and fresh squeezes of lemon

Simmer chayote slices in 2 cups salted water in a medium saucepan until tender, about 20 minutes. Puree chayote solids, then add 1 and 1/2 cups of the cooking water and continue blending until smooth. You can throw out the rest of the cooking water.

Saute onion and garlic in the butter in a large saucepan until the onion is soft. Grate in the potato and stir for a minute. Pour in chicken stock, bring to a boil, and cook over medium heat for about 5 minutes, until thickened.

Pour the pureed chayote into the stock, stirring, and season to taste. Let simmer, uncovered, for about 5 more minutes. When ready to serve, ladle into bowls, sprinkle a few green onion slices on each, squeeze in some fresh lemon, and top with a sprig of cilantro.