corn chowder chile shrimp

Corn is far from being in season, but I have been craving a sweet corn chowder, perhaps in the hopes that a little taste of something summery would work out the chill in my bones. It didn’t quite work out that way, but this chowder was tasty and made for a good, quick weeknight meal.

I started by coring a couple of poblano peppers and slicing them in half lengthwise. I placed them on a sheet of foil and ran them under the broiler for about 10 minutes, until the flesh was soft and the skin was charred and blistered. I turned off the heat and removed them, still on the foil, and folded the foil up into a package so they could steam for a bit.

I sautéed half a red onion, chopped, in a couple of tablespoons of butter in the Le Creuset, and then added a quart of chicken stock, the juice of one lime, a tablespoon each of dried oregano and cumin, plus a bit of kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper. I had purchased a few bags of frozen organic sweet corn from Whole Foods a couple of weekends ago, so I added one bag to the pot, as well as half a pound of diced red-skinned potatoes.

The roasted poblanos were cool enough to handle, so I removed them from their foil packet, peeled off as much of the skin as possible, cut them into about 1 inch pieces, and added them to the pot. I added salt and pepper and allowed the chowder to come to a boil, then reduced the heat to low and let it simmer until the potatoes were tender.

I wanted to serve a few seared shrimp on top, so I cleaned and peeled half a pound of large gulf shrimp, patted them dry, and tossed them with a mixture of salt, Mike’s chile powder and smoked paprika until they were well coated. I tossed them again with a small amount of olive oil and placed them into a hot cast iron skillet to cook – just a few minutes per side.

When the soup was done cooking, I turned off the heat and pureed it about halfway with an immersion blender. I then stirred in half a cup of heavy cream, ladled it into our bowls, and topped each bowl with three of the shrimp.

I was pretty pleased with how this turned out, though I think next time I will up the spices and lime juice a bit, and perhaps even add some chipotle to the mix. I do think this soup will be really nice in the summer, when we can use fresh corn and roast the poblanos over hardwood outdoors.

Wine Pairing: Mike picked up a really nice Alsatian pinot gris to go with this, and it was a great match for the sweet corn and spicy chiles in the dish.

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