This creamy corn and roasted poblano soup recipe marries sweet summer corn and spicy roasted peppers to make an earthy, slightly smoky bowl of comforting goodness. It’s our go-to late summer soup.
Adapted Vishwesh Bhatt | I Am From Here | W.W. Norton, 2022
Whether in the American Southwest or Gujarat, corn and chiles are a match made in heaven. This soup is easy and delicious proof.
It uses the whole cob for a deep corn flavor. Serve it in the late summer or early fall, when corn and chiles are at their peak. Look for fresh corn with plump, juicy kernels and bright, shiny chiles without wrinkles.
Serve as a main course or with roasted tomato grilled cheese for lunch, or as a first course for dinner. If you want the soup to be vegetarian-friendly, simply omit the bacon.–Vishwesh Bhatt
Corn and Roasted Poblano Soup FAQs
What’s with hype with Hatch chiles?
Hatch chiles are kinda like the champagne of peppers. A true Hatch chile is grown in Hatch, New Mexico, which is said to be the only place folks should source these special peppers due to the notion that the area has the best terroir in the entire world for them… much like the Champagne region of France is the best place on earth for Champagne grapes.
They’re a very versatile pepper and have a lovely balance of heat and sweetness, and the season is relatively short. It’s possible to order fresh Hatch chiles online or to purchase dried or canned versions, and you can check out Where Can I Buy Hatch Chiles for more details. Or, you can just use poblano or Anaheim chiles.
How do I know when peppers are fresh?
Peppers of any kind should be firm and glossy, with no blemishes or soft spots. As peppers start to age, they get squishy and wrinkled and at that point should be tossed.
Can corn chowder be frozen?
Yes, it can. Freezing corn chowder is simple and while doing so won’t affect the taste of the soup, you may notice some slight changes in the consistency if your recipe includes dairy (like this one does).
How hot are poblano peppers?
Poblano peppers are mildly spicy, ranking at 1000 to 1500 on the Scoville scale, which is similar to Anaheim peppers. Hatch chiles can be found as mild, medium, or hot, and can range anywhere from 2000 to 8000 units on the Scoville scale.
Can I make this with frozen or canned corn?
We recommend you stick with fresh corn for this particular recipe. The corn cobs are used to make the broth, which adds an incredible depth of flavor to this corn and poblano soup.
Corn and Roasted Poblano Soup
The sweetness of fresh summer corn and mild heat from fresh chiles pair beautifully in this earthy late summer soup. A homemade corn cob broth lends extra depth of flavor to the soup.
Place the corn cobs, rosemary stems, thyme stems, peppercorns, and bay leaves in a large stockpot and cover with 1 gallon water. Bring to a boil over high heat and cook for 30 minutes, adjusting the heat as needed to maintain a gentle boil.
Remove the pot from the heat. When cool enough to handle, strain and discard the solids. You will have 12 to 13 cups of corn stock.
To roast the poblanos, turn the flame of a gas stovetop (or grill) to medium-high. Using tongs and an oven mitt, hold one pepper directly over the flame, turning until it is charred on all sides, about 15 minutes. Repeat with the remaining peppers. (Alternatively, you can roast the peppers under the oven broiler. Watch them carefully and turn with tongs as each side chars.)
Once the peppers are charred all the way around, carefully transfer them to a plastic bag or a bowl covered with plastic wrap. Allow them to sit for about 10 minutes. The resulting steam and heat will finish cooking the peppers and make the skin easier to peel.
When the peppers are cool enough to handle, peel off the blistered skin. Dice the peppers, discarding the seeds and stems.
Meanwhile, in a small skillet over medium heat, toast the cumin seeds, shaking the pan gently so that the seeds toast evenly and do not burn, 1 to 2 minutes. Remove from the heat and, when cool enough to handle, grind in a spice grinder or coffee grinder, or with a mortar and pestle.
In a Dutch oven or wide heavy pot over medium heat, melt the butter. Add the bacon, if using, and cook, stirring often, until it starts to render and crisp, about 4 minutes.
Stir in the onion and garlic. Cover and cook until the onion becomes translucent, 3 to 5 minutes, reducing the heat if the garlic begins to brown. Add the corn kernels, cover, and cook for 5 minutes more.
Toss in the poblanos, rosemary leaves, and thyme leaves, and pour over enough corn stock to cover everything by 1/2 to 1 inch (12 to 24 mm). This should be between 8 and 10 cups. Turn the heat up to medium-high and bring to a simmer. When the mixture simmers, lower the heat to medium-low and simmer, uncovered, stirring occasionally, until the corn is very soft, 10 to 15 minutes.
Store any unused stock, covered, in the refrigerator. Use the stock to cook grits for breakfast the next morning.
Remove the pot from the heat and purée the soup with a hand-held immersion blender. (If you do not have an immersion blender, you can purée the soup in batches in a regular blender. When blending hot liquids, take care not to overfill the blender.)
Strain the puréed soup through a fine-mesh strainer to remove the tough corn skins. (If you don’t have a mesh strainer, you can skip this step. The soup will taste just as good; it just won’t be as smooth.)
Return the soup to the heat and add the cumin, salt, paprika, goat cheese, and cream. Stir until the cheese is melted and fully incorporated. Taste and adjust for seasonings as desired.
Ladle the soup into bowls and garnish with chopped cilantro and a wedge of lime.
Serving: 1portionCalories: 321kcal (16%)Carbohydrates: 35g (12%)Protein: 8g (16%)Fat: 20g (31%)Saturated Fat: 12g (75%)Polyunsaturated Fat: 2gMonounsaturated Fat: 5gTrans Fat: 0.2gCholesterol: 52mg (17%)Sodium: 666mg (29%)Potassium: 584mg (17%)Fiber: 5g (21%)Sugar: 12g (13%)Vitamin A: 1242IU (25%)Vitamin C: 65mg (79%)Calcium: 78mg (8%)Iron: 2mg (11%)
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Originally published August 17, 2022
Recipe © 2022 Vishwesh Bhatt. Photo © 2022 W.W. Norton & Company. All rights reserved. All materials used with permission.
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