Roasted Poblano Corn Chowder

It’s chile season! My poblanos are taking over the garden right now so I thought I would cook up a few into a hearty corn chowder. The soup consists of onions, celery, garlic, yukon gold potatoes, corn, green poblano chiles, and chicken stock. Near the end, you swirl in cream (chiles love cream) to balance out the heat of the chiles, and add a splash of lime juice for brightness. It’s like a green chile tamale, in soup form. So good!

Green chiles are always better if you roast them first, blackening them either over a grill, on a gas stove, or under a broiler, to give them more flavor and to help remove the tough outer skin. That said, with this recipe, you could easily use canned green chiles.

  • Prep: 30 minutes
  • Cook: 40 minutes
  • Yield: Serves 6 to 8.

This chowder comes alive when splashed with lime juice at the end, don't omit that step! But do wait until the end, when you are serving the chowder. You don't want to simmer a cream based soup with something acidic like lime juice, it just might curdle.

The amount of chiles you use depends on how hot they are and your tolerance to heat. Poblanos are considered a mild green chile, like Anaheims or mild Hatch green chiles. But sometimes you get a hot batch. So, make sure to taste the chiles for heat before putting them in the soup! If they are too mild for your taste, include some of the seed pod.

Although I've specified poblanos, any Mexican mild green chile will work with this soup.

Ingredients

  • 5 to 6 large poblano green chiles (to yield 1 1/2 cups roasted, peeled, and chopped), (can sub canned chopped green chiles, enough to yield 1 to 1 1/2 cups, the amount depends on how hot the chiles are)
  • 3 Tbsp butter
  • 2 medium onions, diced (about 2 1/2 cups)
  • 2 ribs celery, diced (about 3/4 cup)
  • 1 clove garlic, minced (1 teaspoon)
  • 2 medium yukon gold potatoes, peeled, cut into 1-inch chunks (10 - 12 ounces)
  • 4 ears of corn (enough to yield 4 cups of corn kernels), or 4 cups of corn
  • 5 cups chicken stock
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon dry oregano
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 2 limes, one sliced for garnish, one for juice (can substitute lemon juice)

Method

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1 Roast the chiles. There are lots of ways to do this (see How to Roast Green Chiles over an Open Flame), I tend to just put them either directly on the flame, or in one of those grill pans with holes in them, over the gas flame. You can roast them on a grill or under a broiler. Just make sure they get blackened all over. Then put them in a bowl, cover the bowl and let them steam. When they've cooled down enough to touch, use your fingers or a dampened paper towel to strip off the charred bits. Cut them open, remove and discard the stem, seed pod and inside veins. Roughly chop the chiles and set aside.

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2 Melt butter in a 5 to 6 quart heavy-bottomed pot on medium high heat. Once the butter is melted, add the onions and the celery, stir to coat with the butter. Cook for 8 to 10 minutes, lowering the heat to medium, until the onions and celery are softened and are beginning to brown.

3 While the onions are cooking, if using fresh corn on the cob, cut the fresh kernels of corn away from the cobs.

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4 Once the onions and celery are beginning to brown, add the garlic and cook for a minute more. Add the potatoes and the stock to the pot. Add the bay leaves, cumin, oregano, and salt. Increase heat and bring to a simmer. Lower heat to maintain a simmer and cook for 8-10 minutes until the potatoes are just cooked through.

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5 Add the corn kernels to the pot and cook for 4 to 5 minutes, until cooked through. Add the chopped roasted poblanos to the pot.

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6 Remove the bay leaves. Stir in the cream. Add black pepper, more or less to taste. At this point, if you want a thicker base for your chowder, you can use an immersion blender or standup blender to purée about a third of the soup.

To serve, sprinkle with a little fresh lime juice and serve with a slice or two of lime.

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