Thursday, August 19, 2010

corn chowder with roasted poblanos

Upon seeing that we had been granted the boon of fresh corn a few weeks back, the Secret Lair's own Secretary of Artistic Propaganda suggested this recipe for corn chowder from the Mayo Clinic. I then made it with a few modifications, and it was good. Damn good.

  • 2 poblano or Anaheim chilies, halved lengthwise and seeded (I picked up 2 poblanos for this)
  • 2 or 3 Yukon gold or red-skinned potatoes, about 1 pound total weight, peeled and cut into 1 1/2-inch chunks (I used 1 pound of mixed potatoes from my share)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 small yellow onion, chopped
  • 1/4 cup diced celery
  • 1/2 red bell pepper (capsicum), seeded and diced (as Laura loathes bell peppers, I substituted a banana pepper instead)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 1/2 cups fresh corn kernels (cut from about 4 ears corn) or frozen corn kernels, thawed
  • 2 cups vegetable stock or broth
  • 1 cup 1 percent low-fat milk
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro (fresh coriander)
  • 2 teaspoons chopped fresh oregano or 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano

Preheat a gas grill or broiler (grill). Position the cooking rack 4 to 6 inches from the heat source.

Arrange the chilies skin-side down on the grill rack, or skin-side up on a broiler pan lined with aluminum foil. Grill or broil until the skins begin to blacken, 5 to 7 minutes. Transfer to a bowl, cover with plastic wrap and let steam until the skins loosen, about 10 minutes. Peel the chilies, discarding the blackened skin, and chop coarsely. Set aside.

Put the potatoes in a saucepan, add water to cover, and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat to medium and cook, uncovered, until the potatoes are tender, 15 to 20 minutes. Drain and transfer to a small bowl. With a potato masher, partially mash the potatoes and set aside.

In a large saucepan, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the onion, celery and bell pepper and saute until the vegetables are softened, about 5 minutes. Stir in 1/4 teaspoon of the salt and cook for 3 to 4 minutes longer. Stir in the roasted chilies and the partially mashed potatoes. Add the corn, vegetable stock, milk, pepper and the remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt. Simmer uncovered until the soup thickens, 25 to 30 minutes.

Ladle into warmed bowls and sprinkle with the cilantro and oregano. Serve immediately.

This was simply spectacular - hearty and flavorful. The substitution of the banana pepper for the bell variety certainly amped up the spice level, but it wasn't overwhelming. I will definitely keep this in my rotation of dishes to do when corn is plentiful.

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