Cool ‘N’ Spicy Green Tomato Soup with Crab and Country Ham

Anaheim’s are very popular in Southwestern US Cuisine.Also called “New Mexican Chile”. These were developed by Dr. Fabian Garcia in New Mexico about 100 yrs ago who was seeking a chile pepper that was bigger, fleshier, and milder.

They got the name “Anaheim” when a farmer named Emilio Ortega brought these seeds to the Anaheim area in the early 1900′s. This chile can be roasted and peeled and used in recipes or stuffed to make chile rellenos just as the Poblano Chile.

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1/4 cup olive oil
4 oz. country ham or prosciutto, julienned
3 cups peeled and thinly sliced onions
3 Tbsp. thinly sliced garlic
2 bay leaves
2 jalapenos, stemmed and sliced
2 green Anaheim peppers
2 green pasilla chiles
4 pounds firm, green tomatoes, cored and cut into eighths and seeded
1 Tbsp. plus 1/4 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. thyme leaves
4 cups water
2 cups chicken stock
2 Tbsp. lemon juice
hot sauce
1/2 pound lump crabmeat, picked over for cartilage
1/2 cup tomatoes, peeled, seeded, and chopped
2 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
2 tsp. chopped basil leaves
1 tsp. chopped chives
1 tsp. chopped cilantro leaves
pinch freshly ground white pepper
8 Tbsp. creme fraiche, for garnishing soup

In a large saucepan over medium heat, heat the olive oil. When the oil is hot, add the ham and pan-fry it until crispy and golden, about 2 minutes. Remove the crispy ham from the saucepan using a slotted spoon and set it aside. To the oil remaining in the hot saucepan add the onions and saute them until soft, about 3-4 minutes. Add the garlic, bay leaves and chiles, and cook for 5 minutes. Add the tomatoes, 1 Tbsp. of sal, and thyme and cook for 15 minutes or until the tomatoes soften. Add the water and stock and bring the ingredients to a boil. Reduce the heat to a simmer and continue to cook until the tomatoes are very tender, about 10 minutes. Remove the bay leaves. Using a handheld blender, puree the soup until it is smooth. Chill the soup and add 1 Tbsp. of the lemon juice and hot sauce, to taste, as desired.

While the soup is chilling, in a mixing bowl, combine the crabmeat, remaining tablespoon of lemon juice, tomatoes, extra-virgin olive oil, basil, chives, cilantro, remaining 1/4 tsp. of the salt and the white pepper and toss gently to thoroughly combine.

When ready to serve, ladle the soup into individual bowls and divide the crab salad among the bowls, about 3 Tbsp. per bowl. Garnish each bowl with some of the crispy ham and a tablespoon of the creme fraiche. The soup can be served either chilled or warm.

Recipe by Emeril Lagasse, 2006.