Saturday, October 31, 2015

Roasted Poblano, Corn and Potato Chowder

Well it's not cold yet here, but I figured I could start practicing for when this supposed "El Nino" hits.  But whether the rain is pouring, or you're just praying for the rain, this chowder will make all things better.

Roasted Poblano, Corn and Potato Chowder
adapted from Iowa Girl Eats (easily serves 8 people)

2-3 poblano peppers, 
2 tbls olive oil
6-8 slices of bacon, chopped
4 leaks, white and light green parts, cleaned and chopped into half moons
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 medium potatoes, peeled and diced into 1/2" cubes
4 cups chicken broth
4 cups whole or 2% milk, separate out 1 cup for mixing the roux
2 cups sweet corn, frozen or fresh
4 tbls flour
3/4 cup shredded cheese (I used a combo of cheddar and jack)
cilantro for a cooling garnish
Salt and pepper throughout to layer the seasoning

Heat oven to 425

Begin with roasting the poblanos whole!  Top with olive oil, salt and pepper and place them on a sheet pan.  Don't be afraid of them.  They are somewhere between a bell pepper and a jalapeno.  When making this original recipe, I used four peppers.  It turned out fantastic, but was pushing my "this is perfect" threshold for soup with a kick.  I'd recommend 2, but 3-4 is great if you can handle some heat.  There's plenty in the soup to calm the spice down.  Milk, cheese, potato and cilantro all provide a nice compliment.

Roast your peppers at 425 for 15-20 min, turning once.

Once they come out, using tongs, place them in a zip lock bag and let them steam for 10 min.  I put the bag in the freezer to speed up the cooling process.  Once they are cool enough to handle, scrape the skin off.  They will still maintain their roasted flavor without the waxy skin.  Chop them up into a fine dice.

While the peppers are roasting, prep your bacon, potatoes, corn and leeks.  If you need a brush up on how to clean leeks easily, check out my tutorial in this mac-n-cheese recipe.  Don't get distracted, come back to making this recipe, no matter how good it looks over there!  lol... I got lost in Portland memories, and bacon, reading that post.

Heat your heavy bottomed soup pot to medium heat.  Once hot, add your bacon and cook (stirring often) until crispy.  

Pull bacon out with a slotted spoon.  Pour out all but 3 tbls of the bacon grease.  Note: if you have a toddler, check and see how the "unloading the dishes" is going.  He likes to "trick me" and put things in places where they obviously don't go.  He's hilarious because he does this totally serious to see if I'm paying attention.

Once the bacon is done, and your toddler is a Ritter and has a pulse, there will most likely be some snacking.

But can you blame him?  We're just bringing up the child in the way he should go, Proverbs 22:6.

Okay, add your leaks and poblanos to the hot oil in the pot.  Salt the mixture.  Remember, if you season as you go, your soup won't taste salty, but seasoned, by the end!

After the leaks have cooked about 5-7 min, add the minced garlic and cook 30-60 seconds.  Add potatoes, salt them, and cook for about 8 min or until just softened.

Measure your liquids out, keeping out 1 cup of the 4 cups of milk.  Pour into the soup 4 cups broth and 3 cups milk and bring to a boil, stirring often.

Add your 4 tbls flour to the 1 remaining cup of milk to make the roux.  Whisk until dissolved.  Colton takes this part seriously and is getting pretty controlled at it.  It's all that scrambled eggs practice.

After your soup is boiling, add the "roux."  Technically the milk should be a little warm, but I cheat here and it's not noticeable.  Just don't tell on me to Food and Wine Magazine or anything.

Isn't ROUX a fun word?  Could be a cute dog name?  I'm always finding fun food and wine words for dog names even though we don't have a dog.  At this point, our nonexistent dog family would probably be a little out of control.  Roux, Zin and Pepper might overwhelm our little backyard.

Simmer soup and stir the roux in for a few minutes until it thickens.  Lastly, add cheese and corn.  Taste for more salt if necessary.  

Pour into bowls and top with fresh cilantro, if you like it.  Pairing this with hot bread and a glass of chardonnay would put this over the top. 

Yeah for Fall time and soup season!

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