Chileatole Verde

Time 1 hour 10 minutes
Yields Serves 4
A person dips a chip into a bowl of Chileatole Verde.
Roasted vegetables are served in a rich corn broth made from fresh and dried corn and green chiles in this Oaxacan dish.
(Ren Fuller)
Print RecipePrint Recipe

Chileatole is a pre-Hispanic dish whose origin is a broth of chile thickened with nixtamalized corn (corn treated with sodium hydroxide, also called lime, to soften it so it can be ground into masa). Today, every region has its own style of chileatole — some are served as soups, some as beverages, some are sweet instead of savory, and some are made with meat. My version is green from fresh green chiles and similar to one I had in Oaxaca that was served as a sauce over roasted vegetables. I use both fresh corn and instant masa to thicken and flavor the dish. To turn it into a soup, increase the amount of water and reserve half of the corn kernels to add to the blended soup at the end, then stir in the roasted vegetables before serving.


Arrange a rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 450 degrees. Line a sheet pan with parchment paper.


On the prepared pan, toss the squash, cabbage and onion with 1/4 cup of the olive oil. Season generously with salt. Roast, tossing occasionally, until tender and browned, for 40 to 50 minutes.


Meanwhile, in a large heavy pot over medium-high, heat the remaining 1/4 cup olive oil. Add the chile poblano, chile jalapeño, tomatillo, scallions, garlic and the 1 tablespoon Morton kosher salt (or 1 tablespoon plus 2 teaspoons Diamond Crystal kosher salt) and cook, stirring occasionally, until tender and just beginning to brown, for 5 to 6 minutes.


Add the corn and cook, stirring, until the corn is tender, for about 7 minutes. Add the 6 cups of water, the reserved cobs (there is a lot of flavor in the cobs), epazote and hoja santa; bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer until the vegetables are tender and the flavors have come together, about 30 minutes.


Remove the cobs (and compost them). Transfer the chile mixture to a blender and carefully blend until completely smooth. Return the blended mixture to the same pot and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Whisk in the harina de maíz, whisking constantly until incorporated and no lumps remain. Cook, stirring occasionally, until thickened to the consistency of a cream gravy, for about 5 minutes. If the chileatole is too thick, whisk in more water, 1/4 cup at a time until that consistency is achieved. Season with salt.


Divide the chileatole verde among bowls. Top with the roasted vegetables.

Adapted from “Mi Cocina” (Clarkson Potter, 2022) by Rick Martínez.