Poblano corn chowder combines sweet and spicy flavors with a creamy texture. Make this recipe tonight for a delicious meal in just under an hour!
Soups and chowders are usually reserved for cold winter nights, but this Mexican corn chowder takes advantage of the fresh corn that’s in season during the summer.
The sweetness of the corn is perfectly balanced with fresh vegetables, dairy, and a blend of spices.
And, while it’s hearty enough to be eaten on its own, a simple green salad or crusty bread would pair well with it too.
How to make poblano corn chowder
Char the corn and sweat the aromatic vegetables to release extra flavor, then combine everything into a hearty soup.
The secret to thickening this chowder is to puree a portion of the soup before stirring it back into the pot.
INGREDIENT NOTES & SUBSTITUTIONS
Note: This is just a partial list of ingredients. For the full ingredient list, see the recipe card at the bottom of this post.
- Fresh ears of corn – Use yellow, white, or a mix of both. For easier shucking, cut off the stem and microwave with the husk on for about 1 minute. This creates enough steam for the cob to slide out of the husk without the silk still attached.
- Yellow onion – Substitute with white onion if needed.
- Yellow potatoes – Yukon Gold is the most popular, but any thin skin (waxy) potato will do. Avoid using russet potatoes as they are too starchy and will become mushy.
- Poblano chiles – These are mild green chili peppers, close in heat to jalapenos.
- Mexican oregano – Mexican oregano is a relative of Lemon Verbena and is native to Mexico. Similar in that it’s pungent like Mediterranean oregano, Mexican oregano has notes of mild licorice and citrus. Mediterranean oregano is a member of the mint family and most often is used in Greek and Italian recipes. Mediterranean oregano is the one most found in spice racks and supermarkets.
- Bay leaf – Remember to remove the bay leaf before blending the soup. Bay leaf is not intended to be eaten.
- Ancho chile powder – If you can’t find this, you can make and use homemade chili powder.
- Mexican crema – This condiment has a texture and fat content somewhere between sour cream and creme fraiche. It can be found at most grocery stores in the refrigerated dairy section. Both sour cream and creme fraiche can also be used as substitutes.
- Cotija cheese – A salty and crumbly cheese that’s popular in Mexican cooking. Its texture is similar to feta, but it dries out the longer it ages.
Prepare the corn
- Heat up the grill and cook the corn on the cob until all sides are charred. Make sure to rotate them every few minutes so none of the sides completely burn.
- Next, use a sharp knife to slice the kernels off of all of the cobs. Then, scrape the cobs with the knife to release the juices.
- Cut 3-4 cobs in half, add to the bowl of kernels, and set aside.
- Discard the remaining cobs or save for another recipe.
Make the soup
- Melt the butter in a pot over medium heat.
- Add the onion, celery, chiles, and spices (except for the chile powder) to the pot.
- Cover and cook until the onion has softened, stirring occasionally.
- Stir in the remaining ingredients and bring to a boil.
- Reduce the heat and simmer uncovered until the potatoes are fork tender.
Finish and serve
- Remove the bay leaves and corn cobs and discard.
- Puree 2 cups of the chowder in a blender until smooth. Remove the center cap from the lid so the steam can escape, but cover with a towel so you don’t make a mess.
- Add the puree back into the soup and stir well to combine.
- Then, ladle the poblano corn chowder into bowls and top with garnishes.
- Storage: Transfer to an airtight container and keep in the refrigerator for 3-4 days. Soups with dairy don’t freeze well because the texture becomes unpleasant when thawed and reheated.
- Reheating: Heat on the stove or in the microwave until warmed through. If the texture is too thick, try adding a little milk to thin it out.
- Naked corn cobs: Instead of tossing the leftover cobs, use them to make corn stock, corn cob jelly, or as a substitute for wood chips. You can always store them in the freezer if you won’t be using them right away.
MORE SOUP RECIPES TO TRY
For more classic flavors and a hands-off approach, try my Slow Cooker Corn Chowder. Or take a look at these other vegetable-based soups:
- Tex Mex Chicken Corn Soup
- Cream of White Bean Soup with Chorizo
- Peruvian Potato Cheese Soup
- Chipotle Pumpkin Soup
Watch how to make Mexican corn chowder below!
Poblano Corn Chowder
- 8 yellow or white ears of corn
- 4 tbsp butter
- 1 yellow onion diced
- 2 ribs celery diced
- 2 poblano chiles seeded and diced
- 4 cloves garlic minced
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tsp Mexican oregano
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 lb yellow potatoes peeled and cut into 1/2" pieces
- 3 cups whole milk
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 1 tbsp ancho chile powder (or chile powder of choice)
- 1/2 cup cilantro chopped
- 1/2 cup Mexican crema or sour cream
- 1/2 cup cotija cheese crumbled
- 2 Limes cut into wedges
- On a medium hot grill or hot grill pan, char the corn all over, 12-15 minutes. Set aside until cool enough to handle.
- Turn a small dipping sauce bowl over and place in the bottom center of a large bowl. Position each ear of corn lengthwise on the small bowl and slice the corn kernels off each cob, scraping the cob with the knife to extract any juices. Repeat with all ears of corn.
- Cut 3-4 bare corn cobs in half, discarding the rest. Set the corn kernels and cobs aside.
- In a Dutch oven or soup pot over medium heat, melt the butter. Add the onion, celery, poblano, garlic, salt, oregano, and bay leaf. Cover and sweat the vegetables, stirring occasionally, until the onion softens, about 6 minutes.
- Remove lid. Add the corn kernels and cobs, potatoes, milk, cream and ancho powder (or chile powder of choice). Bring to a boil, cover, and lower the heat to simmer. Cook, stirring occasionally, about 25 minutes. Test potatoes with fork to be they are tender yet cooked. Carefully remove and discard the cobs and bay leaf.
- Transfer 2 cups of the soup to a blender and purée until smooth. Be careful and leave gap in lid to let steam out and cover with towel.
- Stir the thick puréed soup back into the pot of remaining soup to thicken. Season with salt and the ancho chile powder to taste.
- Divide into soup bowls and garnish with the cilantro, Mexican crema, cotija cheese crumbles and additional ancho chile powder. Serve with lime wedges.
The information shown is an estimate provided by an online nutrition calculator. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist's advice.