Nothing tastes as good as sweet, fresh, August corn. Fortunately, there are some recipes that can be almost as good and very satisfying using frozen corn. Creamy, comforting, and flavorful Corn and Poblano Chowder is just such a recipe (if fresh corn is available, that is always my first choice). Rich tasting, but not too heavy, this soup is perfect for a dreary winter day when fresh local corn is non-existent. Poblano peppers are typically mild but can vary widely from medium to hot. They are spicier than bell peppers but milder than Jalapeños.
Corn and Poblano Chowder
- 4 slices bacon, diced
- 2 poblano peppers, stemmed, seeded, and diced in ¼’’ pieces
- 1 small yellow onion, finely diced
- 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
- 7 cups chicken or vegetable broth
- 1½ pounds red potatoes, washed and peeled, cut into ½” chunks
- ½ cup cream (optional)
- 5 cups corn kernels, fresh or frozen (thaw before adding if using frozen corn)
- 2 tablespoons fresh cilantro or parsley, finely chopped
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Cook bacon in a Dutch oven or stock pot over medium heat until crispy. Using a slotted spoon, transfer bacon to a paper towel lined plate to drain; set aside. Remove all but 1 tablespoon of bacon fat from the pot.
- Add diced onion, garlic and poblano peppers and cook until onion is softened and translucent.
- Add broth, potatoes, bacon and cream (if using) and cook for 10 minutes.
- Add corn and continue to cook until potatoes are very soft. If you prefer a thicker soup, you can remove a small amount of soup, purée it and add to soup.
- Remove from heat and stir in cilantro or parsley. Taste and add salt (if needed) and freshly ground black pepper.
Get Cheffy – what does this mean? This usually requires a bit more time, some additional steps on the cooks’ part but has its rewards in delivering extra flavor. For added depth of flavor, grill the peppers and onion (cut into quarters) before dicing and adding to the soup. If you are making the soup with fresh corn, grill it and remove the kernels before adding to the soup. You can also broil the diced peppers and onion until slightly charred. Frozen and thawed corn can also be broiled (separately from the onions and peppers) before using.