We all know that fresh, sweet corn is awesome in the summer. You know what else is awesome? Peppers. August brings them to the market and I love every one of them. I’ll throw some hot cherries or jalepeños into just about anything for some kick. I’m tossing shishitos on the grill and roasting sweet red bell peppers for salads, pastas and even pestos. But more than anything, I love the heat, especially in the form of a habanero or scotch bonnet.
A few years ago, with a surplus of corn from our CSA, I set out to find a chowder recipe and came across this one. I’ve been riffing on the chowder part ever since, but the accompanying roasted jalepeño and parsley puree is perfect as is, not to mention genious. You can spike your soup according to your own liking, be it mild or crazy spicy.
Corn Chowder with Roasted Jalapeño and Parsley Puree
(makes about 8 cups, serving 4 to 6)
For the puree:
- 5 fresh jalapeño chilies
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 1 1/2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
- 1 tablespoon water (continued)
- 1 garlic clove, minced
- 1 cup packed fresh parsley leaves (and or cilantro)
For the chowder:
- 1 onion, chopped fine
- 2 carrots, chopped fine
- 1 small red bell pepper, chopped
- 2 teaspoons fresh thyme leaves, minced
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 cups chicken (or vegetable) broth
- 2 1/2 cups water
- 1 1/2 pounds Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled and cut into 3/8-inch cubes
- 4 cups fresh corn kernels (cut from about 6 ears of corn)
- salt and fresh cracked pepper
- 1/4 cup sour cream *optional
Make the puree
Broil the jalapeños on the rack of a broiler pan under a preheated broiler about 2 inches from the heat, turning them every 5 minutes, for 15 to 20 minutes, or until the skins are blistered and charred. Transfer the jalapeños to a bowl and let them stand, covered tightly, until they are cool enough to handle. Wearing rubber gloves, peel the jalapeños, cut off the tops, and discard all but 1 teaspoon of the seeds. In a blender puree the jalapeños with the seeds, the oil, the lime juice, the water, the garlic, the parsley, and salt to taste. The puree may be made 3 days in advance and kept covered and chilled.
Make the chowder
In a heavy stock pot, cook the onion, carrots, bell pepper and thyme in the oil over moderate heat, stirring, until the carrots and peppers are softened. Add the broth, water, potatoes, and simmer the mixture for 10 minutes. Stir in the corn and simmer the chowder for 5 minutes, or until the potatoes are tender. In a blender or food processor puree 2 cups of the chowder and stir the puree into the remaining chowder. Season with a generous grinding of fresh black pepper and salt to taste. Remove from heat and stir in the sour cream. Serve the chowder with a dollop of the jalapeño and parsley puree swirled into it.
Adapted from a recipe on Epicurious.com, July 1992
This is a great make-ahead-meal in advance of a busy week (like the one I’m currently drowning in). I also served this once as a soup course for at a dinner party much to my guests’ delight.
Bonus: Since it’s made without dairy, this soup freezes well. I stir in some of the puree before freezing it, then add some sour cream to the soup when I reheat and serve.