Poblano Corn Chowder

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Cool weather suppers are at their best merely a large bowl of potage and crusty bread to sop up all the goodness. A French potage is a thick bowl of soup or stew made mainly with vegetables and sometimes meats or seafood simmered all together in one pot. The word chowder comes from the French word meaning cauldron or a large metal pot with handles that are used for cooking over an open fire. This logo is an example of the shape of a cauldron:



Chowders probably came from France through Newfoundland to New England. This hearty thick corn soup/stew is an American favorite. Often it is thickened with a white flour roux however here it is thickened with the corn and potatoes themselves. When available fresh corn provides not only the corn kernels but pulp and cobs that can flavor and thicken the broth. Frozen corn is one of the few vegetables that are as good frozen as fresh and can be used alternately in this recipe. Consider pureeing an additional half cup of frozen corn kernels to be added to the broth as a thickening and flavoring agent. To make this a vegan soup substitute almond milk for the whole milk. The poblano chilies add a welcomed warmth to this flavorful potage.

4 servings

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2 large fresh poblano chilies

4 ears of corn or 4 cups frozen corn kernels, thawed

1 quart vegetable broth

1 tablespoon sunflower seed oil

1 cup white onion, chopped

4 medium red potatoes, peeled, medium diced

1 teaspoon sea salt

¼ teaspoon fresh ground black pepper

1 cup whole milk (grass fed) or 1 cup almond milk

2 tablespoons chopped cilantro


1.     Heat a comal or cast-iron griddle over medium-high heat until smoky hot. Char every side of the poblano chili possible until blistered all over. May need to hold the chili with metal tongs directly over the flames to blister the cracks and crevices of the chili. Place in a bowl and seal with plastic wrap or a tight-fitting lid. Let them sit steaming for at least twenty minutes. Discard the blistered peel, stems, seeds, and veins. Dice the flesh into one-quarter inch pieces.

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2.     If using the ears of corn, slice off the tassel end of the corn leaving the husk in place. Slice off the stalk end of the corn cobs exposing the last ring of corn kernels. Wrap in two layers of wet paper towels. Place in the microwave and cook for three minutes on high. Remove the husk and silk by pulling from the tassel end. Cut off the kernels and reserve. Scrape the pulp from the cobs and place in a saucepan with the vegetable broth. Cut the cobs into two-inch pieces and add to the broth. Bring to a boil and reduce to a simmer. Simmer for fifteen minutes. Remove the cobs. Reserve warm.

cut off top and bottom before microwaving

cut off top and bottom before microwaving

remove silk and husk all at once

remove silk and husk all at once

scrape pulp from cob

scrape pulp from cob

3.     If using the frozen corn kernels, place the vegetable broth in a saucepan (add an additional half cup of kernels if desired). Bring to a boil and reserve warm.

4.     Meanwhile, in a saucepan heat the oil until it shimmers, add the onions and cook, stirring occasionally, until the onion is soft, about four minutes. Add the potatoes, salt, and pepper. Add the hot broth (and pulp if any) into this mixture. Add filtered water if necessary to slightly cover the potatoes. Bring to a boil and reduce to a simmer. Simmer until the potatoes are tender, about twelve to fifteen minutes. Add corn kernels, poblano chilies, and milk. Heat thoroughly. Taste, Think, Transform with salt and/or black pepper. Serve garnished with the chopped cilantro.

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Linda HierholzerSOUPS