Southwest Summer Corn Chowder with Potatoes, Bacon, and Roasted Poblano Peppers
Skillet blackened corn, roasted poblano peppers, whole new potatoes, and bacon float in a creamy enchilada spiced broth.
Our little town used to be more corn fields than town. Over the years, many of those corn fields have given way to shopping centers and housing developments. But, we still have our fair share of corn fields and there are at least 4 farmer’s markets within a mile of my house. For a few months in the summer and early fall, every one of those farmer’s markets contains large bins overflowing with sweet corn.
Occasionally, I get ambitious and freeze a bunch of sweet corn. This makes me so happy with myself when it’s the middle of winter and I’m desperately craving fresh summer produce. Alas, most summers get away from me before I manage to put away much, if any, summer produce. Knowing this, I just try to consume as much of it’s deliciousness as I can while it’s available.
This Corn Chowder takes full advantage of the season’s bounty.
This corn chowder is, of course, packed with corn. But also new potatoes, red bell peppers, and roasted poblano peppers. Flavored with a generous amount of bacon, it’s creamy, a little bit spicy, and tastes even better the next day, just like a good chowder should.
The broth is flavored with enchilada sauce because, well, YUM. You have the option of using prepared enchilada sauce or making a batch from scratch. In this case, “from scratch” is kind of misleading. If it was really “from scratch”, it would start with a large bag of dried red chilies that you’d have to toast, soak and puree. I’ve done this and it’s a pain in the you-know-what.
In my kitchen, “from scratch” enchilada sauce means starting with a package or two of frozen pureed red chili paste, requires only about 10 minutes of hands-on time, and produces a richly flavorful sauce that is immeasurably better than anything that comes out of a can. I highly encourage you to take the extra step of making it.
Rest assured, if you choose to use the canned variety, your corn chowder will still be delicious. Making the enchilada sauce just makes the chowder delicious-er. 🙂
Weekly Meal Plans That Include Southwest Summer Corn Chowder with Potatoes, Bacon, and Roasted Poblano Peppers:Print
- 4 poblano peppers
- 6 ears of sweet corn (between 4 and 5 cups of corn)
- 12 oz (1 lb) thick cut bacon
- 1 large yellow onion, peeled and chopped
- 2 red bell peppers, stems and seeds removed and chopped into 1/2-inch pieces
- 2 tsp minced garlic
- 1 tsp dried oregano
- 5 cups chicken or vegetable broth
- 1 cup enchilada sauce (*see note)
- Salt and pepper (to taste)
- 24 oz small new potatoes, scrubbed
- 1/2 – 1 cup cream (to taste)
- 1 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
- Croutons for serving (optional)
- Place a rack in the top third of your oven and preheat the broiler. Lay the poblano peppers on a foil-lined baking sheet and place them under the broiler. Roast until the skins of the peppers are almost completely blackened. Turn them over to blacken the other side. Remove the peppers from the oven, dump them into a bowl and cover the bowl with a kitchen towel. Let cool, then peel off the blackened skins and remove the seeds. Chop the peppers and set aside.
- Husk the corn and use a sharp knife to slice it from the cob. Heat a skillet over high heat until a drop of water sizzles and evaporates almost immediately. Add the corn to the skillet and sauté until the kernels are about 50% blackened. Dump the corn out onto a plate or a bowl and set aside.
- Cut the bacon into 1-inch pieces. Heat a large, heavy bottomed saucepan or dutch oven over medium heat. Add the bacon and cook, stirring frequently, until the bacon is crisp. Use a slotted spoon to remove the bacon from the pan to a plate lined with paper towels. Remove all but about 1 tbsp of bacon fat from the pan and return the pan to the burner.
- Add the chopped onion to the pan and cook, stirring frequently, until it’s soft and translucent. Add the chopped bell peppers, minced garlic and oregano and cook, stirring constantly 1 minute longer.
- Add the broth, enchilada sauce, and about 1 tsp salt and pepper to the pan. Turn the heat to high and bring to a boil. Add the potatoes, lower the heat to medium-low, cover and let simmer until the potatoes are fork tender.
- Taste the broth for seasoning and add more salt and pepper if desired.
- Add the poblano peppers, corn, and 1/2 cup cream to the soup. Stir to combine, taste and add up to 1/2 cup more cream if desired. Stir in the bacon and chopped cilantro, and serve with croutons if desired.
For the Enchilada Sauce, use canned or frozen, – OR make a batch from scratch, which is seriously easy and sooooooo tasty. Follow the instructions for Homemade Enchilada Sauce in this recipe for Baked Enchiladas. The recipe makes quite a bit of enchilada sauce; either make a full batch of sauce and freeze what you don’t use in this soup, or make a half batch. Even making a half-batch you’ll have some left over. If you’re making this chowder as a part of Summer Meal Plan #3, you’ll use that leftover sauce later this week to make Black Bean Tostadas with Enchilada Cream.