Monday, May 21, 2012

Ancho Corn Chowder

Every time we have Mexican food I make some kind of corn soup.  There have been many variations over the months, but this is the one that I think is blog-worthy.  Here's why: 1. the ancho chiles provide some heat (add more if you like it hotter), colour, and wonderful flavour.  2: cilantro root!  I hope your grocery store sells cilantro with the root still on because it totally makes this soup (unless you hate cilantro, then forget it).  The roots packs all the flavour of the leaves but with a little more earthiness, and without adding green to a red soup.  3. Tomatoes: I've always loved tomatoes and corn together--I still make corn as a side dish when I serve pasta marinara because I loved it as a kid.  I used the chopped tomatoes I had frozen from the garden last summer and they worked perfectly.  Use fresh corn if you have it, but frozen works too.

- 2 tbsp oil
- 2 sweet onions, diced
- 3 celery stalks, chopped
- 8 cilantro roots, well-scrubbed, chopped
- 2 cloves of garlic, chopped
- 2-3 dried ancho chiles
- 2.5 cups chopped tomatoes
- 2 cups veggie broth, or water
- 1 tbsp sugar
- 4 cups corn, divided
- 1/4 cup soy creamer (optional)
- salt and pepper to taste

1. Heat oil in a stockpot over medium heat.  Saute onions, celery, cilantro roots, and garlic for 5 mins, or until onions start to get translucent.  Stem chiles and rip into large pieces into the pot (seeds and all).  Saute for another 5 mins.
2. Add tomatoes, broth, sugar, and 2 cups of the corn.  Bring to bubbling, reduce heat, cover, and simmer for 15-20 mins, or until tomatoes well-cooked and breaking apart..
3. Blend mixture very well in a blender (in batches) or with an immersion blender right in the pot.  Make as smooth as possible.
4. Return mixture to the pot over medium heat and add remaining 2 cups of corn.  Season to taste with salt and pepper.  Cook until corn is soft.
5. Remove from heat and stir in creamer.  Serve.