Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Poblano Corn Chowder for a Snowy Day

It was a pretty, snowy day in Ohio. I spent a few hours in the office and then beat rush hour. I couldn't wait to get home and make some soup. This is the first time I have made chowder with a poblano. I liked the flavor. I also thought about blending the soup so it was smooth, but decided to go with the hearty version instead. This is an adaptation from Martha Stewart.
(Picture from Ezra Jack Keats - Snowy Day)

Poblano Corn Chowder
4 ounces bacon, cut into 1/4-inch dice
1 small onion, peeled and cut into 1/4-inch dice (1 cup)
2 ribs celery, strings removed, cut into 1/2-inch dice (3/4 cup)
4 sprigs fresh thyme
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
3 cups low-sodium chicken broth, skimmed of fat
2 1/2 cups of corn (fresh or frozen)
5 ounces small potatoes - white or fingerling, cut into 1/2-inch-thick slices
1 poblano chile, seeded and cut into 1/2-inch dice
1 1/2 cups half-and-half

Place bacon in a small stockpot over medium-high heat. Cook bacon, stirring occasionally, until it is deep golden brown and all the fat has been rendered, about 4 minutes. Remove bacon with a slotted spoon, then transfer to paper towels to drain, and set aside. Discard all but 2 tablespoons bacon fat.
Add diced onion, celery, thyme, and salt and pepper to taste to stockpot; cook over medium-low heat until translucent, about 8 minutes. Add stock; bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium, and simmer 15 minutes.
Add corn, potato slices, and poblano chile; cook until potatoes are tender, 8 to 10 minutes. Remove from heat. Using a slotted spoon, remove and discard thyme. Add half-and-half, and simmer until soup is hot. (Martha did not do this, but I took about 1 1/2 cups of the soup and blended it smooth in the blender and then added it back to the chunky soup. I thought it improved the flavors a bit.)
Taste and adjust seasoning with salt and pepper. Ladle soup into soup bowls, and garnish with bacon and a little hot sauce if desired.

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