There is nothing I love more than finding a recipe that uses up all the vegetable odds and ends in your fridge at the same time. Now I’m not talking about some strangely-colored, mystery stew that your aspiring-chef mother throws together for leftover night- yikes! I’m talking about a perfectly balanced and deliciously crafted soup, created from farm fresh ingredients that just has to become a staple in your recipe collection. I LOVE serendipitous, easy meals!
So how did this soup come about? Well, with Thanksgiving approaching I don’t like to have many leftovers in my own fridge when we are away, but on the Tuesday of the week before turkey day I was faced with 10 or so pounds of random vegetables I just brought home from my last day at the farmers market. I decided the apples will be my snacks, potatoes and onions last forever, and I’d have kale salad and chips for the week, but I was still left with a massive head of cauliflower and poblano peppers!
Our last day at the farmers market had been downright brutal, by the way. We quickly turned into human popsicles in the 28 degree cold and only managed to cook up one batch (over the course of 2 hours!) of Smashed Potatoes and Kale due to the gusty winds that surge down 125th Street. We managed to be weather warriors until about 12pm, but then packed up our bins and said goodbye to the amazing farmers we worked alongside this season. As we were leaving, our friendly tent neighbor at the market, Scotch Bonnet Grill, offered us a steaming hot sample of his Jamaican vegetable stew. His spicy, soul warming stew was exactly what inspired me to search for a soup recipe for my remaining vegetables.
Once I saw this recipe for Poblano Corn Chowder I was hooked. I had all the ingedients on hand and it was going to be freezer friendly so I could come back to it after our Thanksgiving feast. I was even able to pull out some of the summer corn from the farmers market that I had frozen a few months ago instead of buying frozen, canned, or tasteless corn on the cob. I also love when you can substitute starchy potatoes for silky, low-calorie cauliflower and you still feel like you’ve enjoyed the most filling chowda’ on a cold day.
Poblano Corn Chowder
- 3 poblano peppers
- 2 Tsp olive oil
- 1 carrot, chopped
- 2 small celery sticks, chopped
- 1/2 onion diced- I actually was able to use up a spare leek in my fridge
- 1 head cauliflower
- 1 ear of corn or 1 1/2 cup corn kernels
- 1 small red bell pepper
- 32 oz. chicken or vegetable broth
- 2 cups water
- 1-2 tsp cumin- I actually forgot this!
- 1/2 cup half and half- could just as easily use some plain greek yogurt
- salt and pepper to taste
- Roast the poblanos in the broiler or over your stovetop flame, turning with tongs until charred on all sides. Put the roasted poblanos in a bowl and cover with plastic wrap to steam, about 10 minutes. Remove the skins, seeds and veins and dice finely. Set aside 2 T. for garnish.
- Heat a Dutch oven or large soup pot over medium heat. Add the olive oil and sweat the carrot, celery, red bell pepper (saving 1 T. for garnish) and onion/leek until softened. Add the cauliflower, corn (and corn cob if you have), poblanos, and chicken broth. The cauliflower should be just covered, add up to 2 c. water, as needed.
- Bring to a boil and then reduce heat and simmer until cauliflower is cooked through, About 10-15 minutes. Add the cumin and cook another 5 minutes.
- Transfer soup mixture to a blender in 2 cup increments and blend until smooth, or use hand-stick blender (the best investment ever!). Leave some carrots and celery in the pot for a chunkier texture. Return to the pan and stir in half and half. Cook on medium for 3-4 minutes until warmed through.
- Garnish with reserved poblano and red bell pepper. Serve with tortilla chips, if desired.