Corn Chowder with Roasted Poblanos, Chunky Potatoes and Yellow Squash
Quick! It’s still corn season and you should make this chowder immediately. Hold on to summer as long as possible, I say. Eat all the pesto, tomato salad, zucchini and corn you can. For the next couple weeks, at least. And then we’ll turn the page to apples, butternut squash and pumpkin.
The Best Soup Stock to Use
If you want a rich and flavorful vegetarian soup, make homemade corn stock. I like to use about three ears of shucked corn (cut the fresh corn off the cob first) and 8 cups water. I add a parmesan rind to the stock if I have one, fresh thyme sprigs, a bay leaf, and a pinch of salt. Let it simmer for about an hour and then strain the stock. Here’s a more precise recipe if you want one. Alternatively, you can use store-bought vegetable or chicken stock for your base.
Fresh or Frozen Corn?
If you can’t find fresh, peak-of-season corn, but you really want to make this soup, use organic frozen corn. It works great! Frozen vegetables are flash frozen at the peak of freshness and flavor, and they’re a great alternative. If you use frozen corn, you do need to use vegetable or chicken stock instead of homemade corn stock.
Substitute zucchini for yellow squash if you’d like. Any type of potato is delicious here, just dice it in 1/2-inch cubes. Leave out the roasted poblano and cayenne if you prefer. And if you’re one of those people who can’t stand cilantro, use flat-leaf Italian parsley or leave out the herbs entirely. In other words, a recipe is a template or an idea you can alter. In early Fall, diced button mushrooms or shiitakes would be a delicious addition!
How to Keep this Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free or Vegan?
Gluten-Free: Lucky you! It already is! Double check store-bought stock if you’re using it, sometimes gluten can sneak into those. The soup base is thickened by pureeing part of the base with a handheld immersion blender, so no flour is necessary.
Dairy-Free: Use full-fat canned coconut milk instead of cow’s milk. Also, if you make your own corn stock, don’t use the parmesan rind.
Vegan: Same as above, no parmesan in the stock, use coconut milk instead of cow’s milk in the soup, and use corn stock or vegetable stock as the base.
Chowder versus Bisque?
Originally, chowder was a chunky seafood soup with a creamy base. There’s typically white wine and some sort of dairy in the soup. A bisque is a smooth puréed soup, usually with white wine and cream added as well. It also started out as a seafood soup (think lobster bisque) but has morphed into vegetable iterations.
What to Serve with Corn Chowder?
Don’t be afraid to go corn-with-corn and make some corn muffins to serve on the side. These easy corn muffins are not too sweet and I’ve made them both with blueberries added or finely diced jalapeño. Use gluten-free flour if you’d like and any type of milk! Crusty bread is great too, or just a big green salad.
Use any type of large stock pot or soup pot. My Staub 7-quart pot works perfectly. I also use a handheld immersion blender to thicken the base. If you don’t have one, I highly recommend it!
Corn Chowder with Roasted Poblanos
- 2 poblano peppers
- 1 tbsp avocado oil
- 1/2 onion, chopped yellow, white or red
- 3 celery ribs, chopped
- 2 yellow squash, diced
- 1/2 pound fingerling potatoes, sliced or diced
- 3 cups corn fresh or frozen
- 4 cups chicken broth
- 1 cup milk, whole, low-fat or skim
- 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
- 1 cup cilantro leaves
- 3/4 cup Greek yogurt, optional
- 1 tsp hot sauce, such as Tabasco or Cholula
- Place the poblanos directly on a gas burner on medium-high heat and char the outside skin until black. If you have an electric stove top, place the peppers on a baking sheet and roast on the top rack under the broiler. Rotate the peppers quarter turns until the entire outside is roasted and well-charred. Be careful not to let the poblanos catch fire. Once charred, place both chilies in a small paper bag and seal tightly to allow the peppers to steam and loosen their skins. Set aside. Once cool, remove the skins, remove seeds, dice the peppers and set aside.
- In a stock pot over medium heat, add the oil and let it warm. Add the onion to the pan, along with a generous pinch of salt, and sauté. Cook for two minutes or until soft. Add the remaining ingredients, except the cilantro and yogurt. Cook uncovered over medium heat until vegetables are soft, about 30 minutes.
- Add the cilantro and carefully puree the soup in several places with an immersion blender. Do not puree until smooth, just purée in with the immersion blender to create a thicker soup base. If you don’t have an immersion blender, carefully transfer half the soup to a blender and purée, and then return it to the soup pot.
- Serve chowder topped with a tablespoon of yogurt and a dash of hot sauce if you’d like.
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