Once upon a time in Mexico…
I sat on a balcony overlooking the Pacific Ocean where Richard Burton and Ava Gardner filmed 1964’s Night of the Iguana, and tasted what I had believed to be the most delicious soup I had ever had in my short life.
I was only 15 years old, but I still think about that soup to this day. It was the first time I was introduced to the versatility of avocado, and the flavor of leek at all. This may be the moment in which I realized the potential of simple ingredients for becoming something amazing.
I’ve searched the internet high and low for a recipe, and although there are plenty of “cream of avocado” soups across cyberspace, none seemed to mention the leek element. I decided I had to wing this one.
So here it is, my 11 year memory-based version of Casa Iguana’s Cream of Avocado & Leek Soup. Now, my memory may be foggy to the mass arrival of teenage dreams that showed up shortly after. Sadly, Casa Iguana is no longer with us so the possibility of testing my methods is nonexistent. Regardless of whether this recipe is truly a fair comparison to the original or not, fact being this is one of the first meals that ever truly inspired me. Not to mention, my version ain’t too shabby, if I do say so myself.
This recipe contains cream which I believe is vital to the dish, the creaminess is by far one of my favorite parts. Luckily, avocado already adds some creamy texture to the soup so this dish can easily be made vegan by completely omitting the cream, or substituting pureed silken tofu or even light coconut milk.
This dish is keto friendly and super low on the glycemic index, and when omitting the cream is Paleo friendly as well. Either way, it’s the perfect nutrient dense, low carb, and satisfying one dish meal.
Copycat Casa Iguana’s Cream of Avocado & Leek Soup
- 3 large, ripe avocados, skinned and pitted
- 5 cups vegetable (or chicken) broth
- juice of 1/2 large lime
- 1 cup fresh cilantro leaves
- 1 tsp. ground cumin
- 2 tsp. salt
- 1 tsp. white pepper
- 1/8 tsp cayenne pepper
- 2 large leeks, rinsed and chopped
- 5 large cloves garlic
- 2 tbsp. olive oil
- 1-1/2 cups half & half (or silken tofu puree, or coconut milk) *optional
In dry cast iron skillet, dry roast the garlic cloves whole until charred slightly on all sides. Remove garlic cloves and allow pan to cool before adding the olive oil.
Heat the oil over medium heat and add the chopped leaks. Saute until softened and fragrant.
In a blender or food processor, combine and puree the leek-garlic mixture and cilantro leaves with some of the broth until completely smooth.
Add the avocado and more broth to allow to puree smoothly. Blend until completely smooth. Transfer soup to large stockpot.
Stir in remaining broth if there is any and all of the spices. Add the cream, tofu, or coconut milk if there is any.
Bring soup to just under a boil. Right before serving, stir in lime juice.
You can garnish this soup with sour cream, salsa, more cilantro leaves, or even a simple swirling of creme fraiche (how it was originally served to me, so I am partial to the last idea).