This month the guest chef at I Heart Cooking Clubs is Chef Rick Bayless. You may have seen him cooking authentic Mexican food on PBS. Or you may have been fortunate enough to eat in one of his restaraunts. My version of Emerald Corn Chowder was inspired by a recipe from Frontera Restaurant website.
I made this a few days before we returned to the US and decided to use whatever was available in the pantry and fridge. I ended up with a great tasting soup that took about a half an hour to prepare. The vibrant color of the soup comes from salsa verde, but the best part is the golden corn peeking out of the broth. Since this is a pantry soup I used canned corn and store bought broth.
At Frontera they thicken the soup with masa harina which I didn’t have available. Instead I substituted a product called Maizena which is a type of corn starch but not as fine as the product we’re used to in the US. As for the rest, pickled jalapeno slices stood in for the poblano chili and I made do with a small jar of salsa verde instead of the two cups called for in the recipe. Both Herdez and La Morena brands are distributed in Spain, but we have to make a special trip to the big Carrefours market to buy them.
An avocado provided a little richness and more green color to the soup as did the last fresh parsley in the fridge. We had a half bag of tortilla chips left which were crumbled over the top of the soup after the photos were taken. Alas, by this point our fridge was nearly empty and so there was no sour cream or Greek yogurt to use, but thanks to the avocado the soup really didn’t need it. Both Rick and I enjoyed the soup but I really want to make it again with fresh salsa verde and corn cut from the cob as I’m sure the fresh ingredients will make a world of difference.
- 1 medium onion, chopped
- 6 - 8 slices of pickled jalapeno pepper (I tried to estimate the size of one pepper)
- 1 cup salsa verde (I used a small can)
- 2 cups corn kernels (I used 3 small cans), reserve ⅓ of the corn to add to the soup after it's been pureed
- 4 cups chicken or vegetable broth (I used a liter of store bought broth)
- 2 tablespoons cornstarch or other thickener (I used Maizena, the original recipe calls for masa harina)
- 1 avocado, peeled and diced or sliced
- Salt, and pepper to taste
- chopped parsley for garnish
- a squeeze of lime juice
- In the bottom of a large sauce pan or dutch oven, saute the onion in a small amount of olive oil.
- When softened, add the broth, jalapeno slices and corn. (Don't forget to reserve some of the corn)
- Use a stick blender to puree the broth and vegetables. Add the reserved corn, reduce the heat and simmer for about 20 minutes.
- To thicken the soup, make a slurry of the cornstarch and water and stir into the broth.
- Add a generous squeeze of lime juice. Season to taste.
- To serve, arrange the avocado in the bottom of a bowl and ladle the soup around it. Garnish with parsley, sour cream, crushed tortilla chips, etc.
Like most soups, you can easily adjust Emerald Corn Chowder to suit your personal tastes. This could easily be made oil free and vegan by using vegetable broth and steam sauteing the onions. The addition of shredded chicken or shrimp would make a heartier soup that will please any omnivore.
Be sure to drop by I Heart Cooking Clubs to see more Rick Bayless recipes.