When it snows on the first day of spring, you have to seize the opportunity to make one last cozy soup- at least in my house. 🙂
On a recent family trip to Newport, Rhode Island, we ate a lot of delicious chowder. Sometimes twice in one day! This inspired the choice to make a chowder during our last (hopefully our last) snowstorm of the season.
This recipe was adapted from Easy Soups from Scratch with Quick Breads to Match by Ivy Manning. I modified the method and proportions, and added a cilantro garnish. I really liked the soup and quick bread pairings in this book.
For the Chowder:
- 5 medium or large poblano chiles
- 3 T unsalted butter
- 1 1/2 large yellow onions, finely chopped in a food processor
- 3 celery stalks, thinly sliced
- 8 medium garlic cloves, minced in a food processor
- 1 1/2 tsp dried oregano
- 6 cups vegetable or chicken stock
- 3 pounds russet potatoes, about 7 medium, peeled and sliced 1/8″ thick with a mandolin
- 4 1/2 T masa harina or fine cornmeal
- 1 1/2 cups heavy cream
- coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 1 1/2 cups grated Monterey Jack cheese, for garnish
- minced cilantro, for garnish
- Adjust the oven rack so that it is 6 inches (15 cm) below the heating element and preheat the broiler.
- Place the poblanos on a small, heavy baking sheet lined with aluminum foil.
- Broil the chiles, turning with tongs halfway through cooking, until the skins are blackened all over, 10 to 12 minutes.
- Remove from the oven. Fold and seal the aluminum foil together and let cool. (This helps the charred skin steam off.)
- Melt the butter in a large soup pot or Dutch oven over medium heat.
- Add the onion and celery and sauté until the onion is translucent, about 4 minutes.
- Add the garlic and oregano and sauté until fragrant, about 45 seconds.
- Add the broth and potatoes, cover, and bring to a simmer. Reduce the heat to low and continue simmering while you prep the chiles.
- Remove the chiles from the foil pouch. Discard the stems and seeds. Peel off and discard the blackened skins.
- Chop the chiles and add them to the soup pot.
- Cover and simmer over low heat, stirring frequently, unit the potatoes are fall-apart tender, about 25 minutes.
- Place the masa in a medium bowl and gradually whisk in the cream.
- Add the mixture to the soup and cook, uncovered, until thickened and bubbly, about 5 minutes.
- Season with salt and pepper.
- Ladle the soup into bowls and sprinkle with the grated cheese and minced cilantro. Serve immediately.
Note: The cooled soup (without cheese) can be stored in airtight containers in the refrigerator for up to 4 days, or in the freezer for up to 3 months. Defrost overnight in the refrigerator overnight and reheat very gently.
For the Skillet Cornbread:
- 6 T (85 g) unsalted butter
- 1 cup (140 g) cornmeal
- 1 cup (140 g) white whole wheat flour
- 1 T baking powder
- 3/4 tsp fine sea salt
- 3/4 cup (180 ml) buttermilk
- 1/2 cup (120 g) sour cream or plain full-fat Greek yogurt
- 3 T pure maple syrup
- 2 large eggs
- Preheat the oven to 425 degrees, preferably on convection.
- While the oven is preheating, place the butter in a 12-inch (30.5 cm) cast iron skillet and place the skillet into the oven. Heat the pan until the butter is melted and browned, about 10 minutes. Remove the pan from the oven.
- In a large bowl, whisk together the cornmeal, flour, baking powder, and salt.
- In a medium bowl, whisk together the buttermilk, sour cream, maple syrup, and eggs.
- Add the buttermilk mixture to the cornmeal mixture and scrape the melted butter from the skillet into the batter.
- Mix with a wooden spoon until just blended. Do not overmix.
- Scrape the batter into the skillet and smooth the top with a rubber spatula.
- Bake until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, about 14 to 15 minutes.
- Let bread cool in the pan for 5 to 10 minutes.
- Cut the cornbread into wedges or pieces, as desired. Serve warm or at room temperature.
Note: This moist cornbread freezes well. Stack the cooled wedges, wrap them in foil, and freeze in a ziplock plastic bag for up to 3 months. To reheat, arrange the bread in an even layer on a baking sheet lined with foil, and bake in a 350 degree oven until heated through, about 15 to 20 minutes.
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