In a class called ‘Vegetarian Comfort Food’, we rustled up a pot of Roasted Poblano Pepper and Corn Chowder that was getting raves from every taster. In the summer, mixing the variety of peppers up and when the corn is fresh, this soup takes on a decidedly earthy feel. But even in the days before the strawberries are in and local peppers are just a distant dream, you can find Poblanos in the hispanic markets and some of the more eclectic grocery stores even in Louisville. Seeking them out is worth the effort.
Roasted Poblano and Corn Chowder
3-4 large poblano peppers, washed, split and seeded
2 Tbls olive oil
1 large onion, diced
2-3 cloves garlic
2 Tbls butter
3 Tbls flour
1 tsp cumin
pinch cayenne pepper
2 cups diced potato, peeling is optional
2-4 cups vegetable broth
salt and pepper to taste
2 cups frozen corn kernels (use fresh if seasonally available)
1 can cream style corn
12 oz evaporated skim milk or 1/2 & 1/2
1/4 cup red, yellow or orange peppers, minced
chopped fresh cilantro and/or parsley
Place the peppers on a sheet pan and flatten with your hand. Broil until blistered and charred, taking care not to overcook the peppers. Poblanos are thinner-walled peppers and cannot withstand the blackening that bell peppers can. Remove from the pan and immediately place in a bowl. Cover with a plate or plastic wrap and allow to steam. After 15 minutes, peel and dice the peppers, set aside.
Meanwhile, heat the olive oil in a 4 quart sauce pan. Saute the onion until translucent. Add the garlic and stir for about a minute. Add the butter and flour and stir until the mixture is bubbly and colors slightly. Add the cumin and cayenne, stirring constantly to help the spices bloom. Add the broth, peppers and potatoes. Cook at a simmer until the potatoes are just tender. Add the corn kernels and cream style corn. Cook until the corn is heated through, then add the milk or cream. Heat until hot. Portion into bowls and sprinkle with the minced colored peppers, parsley and/or cilantro.