Spoon Fork Bacons claim of “the best corn chowder you’ll ever taste!” may actually be true…
The corn soup has a distinctly Mexican feel with the roasted peppers, tequila, coriander leaves, and cotija cheese. I found it over on Spoon Fork Bacon and (obviously) had bacon in it, but I made the entirely vegetarian version, subbing the bacon for crispy fried mushrooms. I still added some crumbled bacon to the carnivores’ bowls, but the soup tasted already exceptional without either of these toppings.
The dish’s brilliant part is that you will first infuse the stock with the corn cobs and half of the charred kernels before blitzing it (minus the cobs course) into an amped-up soup base.
The soup is slightly bound and creamy, but still nicely textured with all the vegetables (onion, celery, baby potatoes, roasted peppers, and the corn) and fresh from the coriander and lime juice. The smokiness comes from the charred corn and the roasted peppers.
I didn’t change all that much to the recipe, mostly just using the vegetarian options and ingredients that are hard to find here in the Netherlands. The original calls for two poblano peppers and one red bell pepper to roast. I switched to one green jalapeño pepper and two red bell peppers. The same applies to Cotija cheese, but Greek feta will do the trick as well.
Roasting the peppers and cobs of corn yourself does take some additional time, but it’s 100% worth the extra effort. However, you can use canned corn kernels (put about 2 cups of drained, rinsed, and dry-patted corn on a large baking tray and put it under the grill of your oven for about 3 minutes for a light char). A jar of roasted peppers will also be useful (remember to rinse them carefully to get rid of the usually vinegary brine). Still, in that case, I would recommend finishing (to taste) with some chopped chipotle peppers for heat and additional smokiness.
The recipe (serves 6)
- 3 ears of corn
- 900ml / 1 quart vegetable stock
- 4 tbsp butter
- 120g / 4oz shiitake or chestnut mushrooms, thinly sliced
- 1 medium onion, diced
- 1 roasted green jalapeño pepper, diced
- 1 roasted red bell pepper, diced
- 2 ribs of celery, diced
- 6 baby new potatoes, diced
- 30g / ¼ cup all purpose flour
- 60ml / ¼ cup gold tequila
- ½ bunch coriander leaves, minced
- 1 tbsp oregano leaves, minced
- 1 lime, juiced
- 120ml / ½ cup heavy cream
- 50g / 6 tbsp cotija or feta cheese, crumbled
- lime wedges
- fried mushrooms (or crumbled bacon)
- coriander leaves
- Char the corn by placing the cobs under the grill for a few minutes, turning the corn after each minute to char all sides. You just want each side to lightly char. Cool corn then slice the kernels from cobs.
- Place the corn cobs and half of the corn kernels into a large pot with the vegetable stock and let the mixture simmer for 20 minutes.
- Remove the cobs from the pot and purée the kernels and stock together in a blender or food processor until the mixture is very smooth. Transfer the corn stock base into a large measuring jug or mixing bowl and set aside.
- Place the pot back back on medium heat. Melt 1 tablespoon butter into the pot and add the sliced mushrooms. Season with salt and pepper and saute until cooked down and crisp around the edges. Remove mushrooms from pot and set aside.
- Melt remaining 3 tablespoons butter into the pot and sauté the onions, roasted peppers, celery and potatoes until the vegetables begin to sweat and soften, after about 5 to 7 minutes.
- Add the remaining corn kernels into the mixture and season with salt and pepper and sprinkle the flour over vegetable mixture. Stir together for a 2-3 minutes to get rid of the raw flour flavour.
- Continue stirring while adding the tequila and allow the alcohol to burn off, about 1 to 2 minutes.
- Add the corn stock to the mixture, keep stirring to avoid lumps. Allow everything to come to a hard simmer to allow the chowder to thicken.
- Reduce the heat to medium-low, stir in the chopped oregano and coriander leaves, half the fried mushrooms (or bacon), and the lime juice. Season with salt and pepper to taste and continue to cook the chowder for 10 minutes until potatoes are tender.
- Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the cream and again check the seasoning.
- Finish the chowder with a sprinkle of crumbled cotija or feta cheese, coriander leaves, remaining mushrooms (or bacon), and extra lime wedges on the side.
- Serve and enjoy!