Farmer’s Table: Poblano Corn Chowder
This is the time of year when I need to use frozen vegetables from last year’s garden to create space for this year’s crop. I also had to find a spot for some frozen whole trout that a friend delivered last week. To make room for the fish, I took some frozen corn and roasted poblanos out of the freezer.
A year ago, I saved a poblano corn chowder recipe in to my file folder. There was no better time to try the recipe than during the cold spell last week. It also seemed like an appropriate meal for Cinco de Mayo.
I like poblano peppers. They are a long, triangular-shaped pepper with a very dark green color and thick, waxy skin. They are often stuffed and roasted in a popular Mexican dish called Chile Rellenos.
Poblanos can be mild or unpredictably hot. Peppers from the same plant can vary in heat intensity, which is probably why poblanos are not big sellers at the farmers market. The plants are heavy producers, so I am often left with an abundance of peppers. Last year, I roasted and froze the surplus.
Poblanos are best roasted before using, because the skin can be tough and difficult to digest. Once charred, the skin will slip off easily. Roasting also brings out the unique flavor and softens the flesh. Numerous methods for roasting can be found in cookbooks and on the Internet. I charred my peppers in a hot oven.
Be sure to remove the seeds and membranes before using, since that is the part of the pepper that contains the heat.
Local poblano peppers won’t be available for a few more months. They can be found year-round in some supermarkets, if you want to try this recipe now. If not, tuck this recipe away like I did and pull it out when fresh peppers and corn are in peak season in late summer or early fall. If you have an abundance of both, freeze some for a hearty, warm dinner on a cold winter evening.
If you are unfamiliar with poblanos, I encourage you to try them. You may even want to grow your own. Seedlings can be found at local greenhouses. They can be planted in the garden when nighttime temperatures are above 60 degrees. The most important requirement for production is full sun.
Poblanos are versatile and delicious. There are multiple ways to use poblanos, which are considered the workhorse of the Mexican kitchen. Try them in salsa, Mexican rice, cornbread stuffing or pasta.
You can substitute another variety of pepper for the poblanos in this recipe, which will slightly alter the taste.
Poblano Corn Chowder
2 poblano peppers
2 tablespoons butter
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons flour
2 cups chicken broth
1 cup cooked chicken, diced
2 cups corn, fresh or frozen
1 (15-ounce) can black beans
1 cup sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
½ cup pepper jack cheese, shredded
1 tablespoon cumin
Salt and pepper to taste
Tortilla strips for topping, if desired
Preheat oven broiler and set rack about 6 inches from heat source. Line a baking sheet with non-stick foil.
Place the poblanos on the sheet and broil until blackened and blistered. Place the blackened peppers in a bowl and cover with plastic wrap and allow to steam for about 15 to 20 minutes. When cool, remove and discard skins. Dice roasted peppers.
Melt butter in a large pot. Stir in minced garlic. Whisk in flour to make a paste. Gradually whisk in chicken broth. This will help thicken the chowder.
Stir in peppers, chicken, corn and black beans. Heat through.
When hot, add chesses and season with cumin and salt and pepper. Simmer until cheese melts.
Ladle into bowls and serve with tortilla strips, if desired.
The Putnam Farmers Market is now open on Saturdays from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. The market is located at the entrance of Valley Park in Hurricane.
For questions about recipes or other information, contact Susan Maslowski at email@example.com or go to our websites at metrokanawha.com and putnamreview.com. Susan also has a Farmer’s Table Facebook page.