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.

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Roasted Poblano Corn Chowder Recipe

  • Prep time: 30 minutes
  • Cook time: 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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40 Comments

  1. KalynsKitchen

    Lucky you to have all those poblanos. I really love them!

  2. Jane H. in MA

    OH my goodness, this looks and sounds so good! I love the idea of using an immersion blender for part of it.

    Just today I went to a farmstand where I bought a few Anaheims, poblanos, and a mildly hot pepper called Astry in order to make chile relleno casserole. I will be returning, for sure, to get more chiles for this recipe. I can’t imagine, though, using canned chiles. The flavor of a fresh roasted chile is incomparable. Thanks for the recipe!

    Yay, chile season!

  3. Baby June

    That looks wonderful! Such a great way to use corn in the summer. :)

  4. Natalie @ Paper & Birch

    Corn chowder with poblanos? I’m loving this!

  5. Michael Stone

    I used new season roasted Hatch chiles, and Salvadoran style sour cream.

  6. angela

    I have just bought my first of the season’s British Corn and I can’t wait to make this…..love the new website design, deceptively simple like the recipes, but always delicious and full of flavour!

  7. mimi

    Gorgeous chowder! My poblanos aren’t mature enough yet, but when they are this soup is in order! thaniks!

  8. Kevin @ Closet Cooking

    That is one tasty looking bowl of chowder and I love the splash of lime!

  9. Julie

    I’m trying to eat a bit healthier. Do you think I could sub fat free/lower fat evaporated milk?

  10. JaneM

    I love chowders and adore HOT chile peppers (lived many years ago approximately 30 minutes away from Hatch, NM and still get homesick). Will definitely give this recipe a try when we get into cooler weather.

  11. Rose

    I was born and raised in New Mexico and Hatch chilies are only mild if you select mild. Each crop harvested is rated for its spiciness. The hottest is known as dynamite. Love your recipes and just bought 25 lbs of hot Hatch chilies. I can’t wait to try them all out!

  12. Megan

    This reminds me of a similar corn chowder I make with chipotle peppers and sweet potatoes. I love the combination of the sweet corn and spicy chilis — so good! I will have to try this one next time around. Thanks for all the great recipes — you are the authority in my house on cooking everything.

  13. Sandy S

    This sounds so new and tempting! Love that it is GF and in addition to traditional chowder makings, it is flavored with bay leave, cumin and oregano as well as the lime and poblanos. I’m willing to splurge on the cup of heavy cream when I see that the recipe is to serve 6-8. Even when I know I will be having seconds!

    BTW – New design is a breeze to navigate Elise! Kudos to you and your team!

  14. Patricia Seaton

    This sounds fantastic. I can’t wait to try this one.

  15. Bethany

    Found some local poblanos at the market and so had to try this! We actually didn’t add any cream (all I had was half and half anyway so I didn’t really want to water it down). Partially blended it, added a teaspoon of smoked paprika, and called it good. Thanks for the recipe!

  16. Vanessa

    Thanks for this amazing recipe, Elise. I made it today, and added pieces of roasted chicken. I used canned jalapeno and red pepper corn, which cut down on the cooking time. It came out absolutely delicious and I got raves. Thank you for the inspiration! I am thinking of doing it with shrimp and perhaps fresh cilantro next time, and I’ll report back.

    • Vanessa

      To clarify, the canned corn I used had roasted jalapeno and red peppers in it. I oven-roasted the poblanos 15 minutes per side on the hottest broiler setting and steamed them in a plastic bag for about 20 minutes afterward, but kept some of the blackened skin for flavor.

  17. Jasmine

    You could also use roasted corn kernels (Trader Joe’s sells them in the frozen section) or grill the corn first before slicing off the kernels, to add another layer of smoky goodness to the soup!

  18. Charlene

    I knew this would be delicious and I was right! So glad to have another way to use my wonderful poblanos. I only used 2 cans of chicken broth, so it was a bit less than 4 cups and it was plenty. Next time, I will add more potatoes and I will use a potato masher to mash up enough to thicken the base before adding the poblanos. I am roasting and freezing my extra poblanos and expect this will be a great winter soup as well using frozen corn. Thanks for another great recipe, Elise!

  19. Marguerite

    With cream and potatoes, can this soup be frozen?

    • Elise

      Good question! I haven’t tried freezing it. If anyone else does, please let know.

      • Vanessa

        Hi Marguerite and Elise. Yes, it freezes very well. Just don’t defrost it in the microwave. If possible, set it out a few hours before, then heat in a pan and it warms and thickens very nicely. I had no issues with taste or texture.

  20. Mary H

    Delicious!!! I made this last weekend with Hatch Peppers since they are plentiful right now . Great recipe.

  21. Judy C

    I didn’t have poblanos but had some Hatch chiles from last year that I had frozen after roasting. This was fabulous!

  22. DELPHINE

    This was amazing! Made with 6 poblanos and a pile of corn from the market – I left some seeds, and it was the perfect blend of spicy and flavorful. I left out the bay leaves as I didn’t have them on hand – and I agree with the lime-makes-the-dish. Delicious! Thank you!

  23. Christian

    Black pepper will probably work against the creaminess of the potato and the creamy chowder base in ways that any capsicum would not. Might be better to sprinkle on a bit of Hungarian paprika – hot or mild – or to use a jolt of Tabasco or other capsicum-based hot sauce.

    • Elise

      I think you’ll find there’s enough capsicum in this soup with all the poblanos. If it isn’t hot enough you can always include some of the seeds. I like the black pepper in the chowder, but if you don’t you can always leave it out.

  24. Debra

    This is absolutely the best corn chowder recipe I’ve come across and it’s now the ONLY one I will make! I’ve been looking for this for a long time, so thank you. And, it’s even better the next day. Just had my leftovers for lunch!

  25. Christian

    Ancho chilies might work in the winter ….

  26. Kate @¡Hola! Jalapeño

    Yummy! I’ve been dreaming of a soup like this for days now—I’ve got to give it a try!

  27. Mary

    I sometimes rub olive oil, salt and pepper on chiles and just roast them in the oven. They don’t char, but they do get nicely toasted. Would that method be OK for this recipe, or am I missing something?

    • Elise

      Hi Mary,
      The goals in charring are to 1) get the roasted flavor into the chiles and 2) make it easy to peel off the skin.

  28. Garrett

    Just made this for dinner. Absolutely fantastic!

  29. Lupe

    Another great receipe to use your poblanos is what we call Mexican spaghetti, sauté roasted poblanos in butter with onions and mushrooms layer with chichuahua cheese on spaghetti and season with salt and pepper.

  30. Preeti S

    Made this for dinner tonight along with some garlic cheese crostini to sop it all up.. Yumm! Thanks Elise.

  31. Gloria

    Loved poblano soup when we lived in Puebla, it also had squash blossoms.

  32. Jen

    For a meal, I think I would add pieces of boneless chicken thighs (sauteed first) and sharp cheddar cheese. Garnish with the lime and fresh cut cilantro and maybe green onion too. I love soup!

  33. Colleen

    I made this for dinner last week; it was delicious! I even substituted fat free half and half for the heavy cream. Thank you for sharing.

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