Before I learned that I’m allergic to dairy, I fell in love with this incredible smoked goat cheddar. This soup started as an effort to justify that cheese habit with a healthy dose of vegetables, but you honestly don’t need the cheese. The soup is good enough without it.

The base is simple and versatile; I switch up the ingredients and the heat levels to suit my mood and the season. In the summer, it works beautifully with fresh corn and roasted poblanos as it is here. In the winter, it’s brimming with smoky chipotle flavors, black beans, chicken stock, and sweet potatoes or squash. You could try adding carrots, brown rice, or chicken too. It’s a delicious framework to play around with. The smokiness of the peppers with the acidity of the tomatoes is enough to keep me coming back for more.

Smoky Poblano & White Corn Soup

Serves 4

Ingredients

  • vegetable broth – about three cups
  • a yellow or purple onion
  • garlic – 4 cloves
  • fresh white corn – 4 ears
  • chopped tomatoes – 14.5 oz can
  • two poblano peppers
  • juice from a lime
  • fresh cilantro
  • extra-virgin olive oil
  • cayenne
  • cumin
  • salt
  • pepper
  • smoked goat cheddar (optional)
  • sour cream (optional)
  • a crust of day-old bread (optional)

Method

Peel and dice the onion. Peel and mince the garlic. Remove the corn from its ears and put it aside. Warm up a large stock pot over medium heat. Add a good splash of olive oil.

Add the garlic and onion to the pan. Salt and simmer the base over medium heat. Roast the poblanos on a separate burner until they blister, turning as needed. Put the peppers aside to cool. (Some people like to put them in a plastic bag to cool to encourage the skin to peel off.)

Add the broth, tomatoes, cayenne, cumin, and a bit of cilantro to the base. (I don’t measure the spices, but be careful with the cayenne!) While the soup simmers for about 10 minutes, chop the poblano peppers and cut the corn off of the cob. Add them both to the soup. Taste it again and add salt as needed.

Cook on low for at least 10 more minutes. The corn should be tender, but not mushy. Then, blend the soup until it’s mostly smooth. Squeeze the lime juice in, stir the soup, taste it, and salt it again if needed.

Optional: To make the croutons, remove the crusts from the bread, and tear them into bite-sized pieces. Set the oven to broil. In a large bowl, toss the bread with a light coat of olive oil and a pinch of salt. Broil until crispy, turning the pieces occasionally. When they’re crispy on the outside and warm in the middle, remove the croutons from the oven and toss them in the bowl again with the goat cheddar and some pepper.

Pour the soup into a bowl. Add the cheese croutons, a dollop of sour cream, and some cilantro. Serve and enjoy.


Nicole Fenton is a content designer and writing teacher in Brooklyn. She started Born Hungry as a way to explore and encourage cooking at home. She writes little things on Twitter and keeps a journal at nicoleslaw.com.