As temperatures soared into the mid-90s last week, I decided to make chowder for a lunchtime meal. I know that a hot dish on a sweltering day is generally something most people try to avoid.
Earlier in the day, my husband dug potatoes, pulled carrots and picked poblanos and corn. I had a recipe stashed in my files for a chowder that called for all of those ingredients. It was a Monday, and I could feel good about making a meatless dish using homegrown produce.
Soups are usually made with thin broths. Bisques are smooth, thick soups, while chowders usually contain chunky pieces of fish, meat and vegetables and have a thick, rich cream base. The milk or cream base in chowders is usually thickened with flour.
There are several theories about the origination of the name “chowder.” One source says it is derived from the French term “chaudiere,” which is a type of cooking pot used by French fishermen to boil their catches with vegetables.
Clam Chowder is a very popular type of chowder, but chowders can be made with many other ingredients. Corn chowders are becoming increasingly trendy with modern chefs.
The Potato, Poblano and Corn Chowder recipe was a perfect way to use vegetables that are plentiful in my own garden right now. If you are not a gardener or farmer, most of the produce required can be found at local farmers markets.
I offer a word of caution about poblanos. They are generally a fairly mild green chili, but sometimes you will get a hot one. You may want to taste the poblano before putting it in the soup. If it is too hot for your taste, you may want to cut down the quantity called for in the recipe.
The chowder comes alive with a splash of lemon juice, but be sure to add it just before serving so the cream base does not curdle.
Potato, Poblano and Corn Chowder is a delicious, rich creamy meal that can be table ready in less than an hour. This flavor-packed chowder is a comfort food that can easily be enjoyed any day of the week and in any season.
Potato, Poblano and Corn Chowder
3 tablespoons butter
1 cup chopped onion
½ cup seeded chopped poblano
1/3 cup chopped carrot
1 teaspoon coriander
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme
1 teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon black pepper
2 tablespoons flour
1 tablespoon tomato paste
2 cups vegetable or chicken broth
1½ cups milk
1 large potato, cut into chunks
2 cups fresh corn kernels (about 2 cobs)
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
Cayenne pepper (optional)
Melt the butter in a large pot over medium heat. Add the onion, poblano, carrot, coriander, cumin, thyme, salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until onion is translucent, about 6 to 8 minutes.
Sprinkle flour over vegetables, and cook, stirring for about 1 minute. Stir in tomato paste. Add the broth, potatoes and corn. Bring to a simmer over medium heat. Cover and reduce to a simmer. Cook until potato is tender, about 15 minutes.
Add lemon juice, and season to taste with cayenne and additional salt and pepper, if desired.