Sunday, February 27, 2011

Poblano Potato Chowder with Roasted Corn

I guess it's official. Soup Sunday is here to stay (except maybe during the summer...stay tuned and we'll see).  It seems like I can't get past them.  This time, I had a poblano pepper in my fridge for some reason (I know there was one when I bought it, but couldn't remember why I didn't use it.) and decided that along with the potatoes in my pantry and the expiration-approaching cream in my fridge it would be a great cold Sunday evening supper.  The roasted corn just sounded better than throwing frozen corn in without any kind of manipulation.  A quick trip in a preheated iron skillet was the winter answer to our summer favorite grilled corn.

A note on the pepper.  It is a milder chile, but has a little kick.  Leave it out and just make a potato chowder with roasted corn or use canned chiles if you have then on hand.  (They are on The List so if you have everything stocked they will be there.) So here it is, enjoy with a cold chardonnay or beer and imagine yourself on a warm sunny Mexico beach.

Poblano Potato Chowder

1 tbsp olive oil
1 yellow onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 lb russet potatoes, peeled and chopped
1 poblano chile, roasted, peeled and chopped (or 1/2 cup canned chiles)
4 cups chicken stock (Better than Bouillon reconstituted)
1 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup plain yogurt
2 cups frozen corn kernels

In a large saute pan, saute the onion and garlic in the olive oil until softened.  Add the potatoes and half of the chiles.  Add the chicken stock and bring to a boil.  Reduce heat to medium and cook until potatoes are very soft.

To roast the corn, heat an iron skillet until smoking. (Spread kernels on a cookie sheet and broil if no iron skillet.) Turn off the heat (if using a gas stove) and add a thin film of oil and the corn (careful, it will spatter!) When the spattering stops, turn the heat back on to high and cook until you smell toasty corn, stir a bit and cook again for another minute or two.  It will burn so watch carefully.  Mix with the remaining poblano chiles and set aside.

Using a hand blender (or carefully transfer to a blender with the top off and covered with a towel) puree the soup.  Whisk together the heavy cream and yogurt and stir into the soup.  Heat gently until it's hot all the way through. 

To serve, place a large spoonful of the corn/chile mixture in a shallow soup bowl and carefully ladle the chowder around it.

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