If you like potato soup, you are going to love Sopa de Chayote! Made with vibrant green chayotes — a type of squash very popular in Mexican cooking also known as pear squash — this soup is creamy and comforting, perfect for rainy days. Chayotes are mild in flavor and can be substituted for potatoes or zucchini in soups and stews. One of my favorite ways to enjoy chayotes is in a creamy soup topped with crispy fried bacon, melted Manchego cheese and chopped fresh cilantro.
Cook bacon in a Dutch oven over medium-high heat until completely cooked. Remove bacon with a slotted spoon and transfer to a paper towel-lined plate to drain excess grease.
Saute chayote, onion, garlic, and yellow chile pepper in bacon grease, stirring occasionally, for about 5 minutes.
Stir in tomatoes, water, and cilantro; season with salt. Let soup come to a boil; cover and reduce heat to low. Let simmer for 15 to 20 minutes until chayote is tender.
Remove half of the cooked vegetables and broth. Carefully puree in a blender until smooth with the cornstarch. Pour pureed mixture back into soup.
Stir in the Mexican crema and 1½ cups of the Manchego cheese. Let soup simmer for 3 to 5 minutes until slightly thickened; season with salt and black pepper to taste. Remove from heat; stir in bacon just before serving.
To serve ladle soup into bowls. Garnish with remaining shredded cheese and chopped fresh cilantro.
If you are unable to find chayote, you can substitute 6 cups of diced zucchini or potatoes.