We happened to be in town for our friends’ wedding. Bob’s a laid-back guy with an infectious laugh. Katie’s the face of southern hospitality and cute as pie. And the two of them together make the perfect pair.
Rehearsal dinner was Friday night at a place across the old courthouse. Dark hardwood floors, bright watercolours hanging from brick walls and a friendly face offering an impressive wine selection, Bistro 108 is an elegant surprise in a one-horse town.
Out of everything served (even the chocolate pots de creme), the poblano corn chowder stuck with me the most. Lusciously creamy with just a nibble from the chilies, it was a cozy reminder of the state’s southwestern roots.
It had to have been well after midnight when we got home. Mom & Dad had been house-dog-bird-baby-sitting and looked pooped.
Daisy was sleeping peacefully in her crib.
my wish came true.
Nooo, I didn’t wake her.
She woke up when she heard our voices. Honest engine.
I squeezed her and smooshed her, kissed and hugged her.
It was so good to hold her again.
As happy as I was to be home that night, I just couldn’t sleep. The mystery of that corn chowder recipe filled my head.
The next day, I hit the books, scoured the internet, did my research, even asked the mailman, but knew the only recipe I wanted was what I had at the Bistro. So I wrote to chef/owner Susan Kuelher and was floored to get a response right away
Christmas sure came early this year. Susan’s a fly-by-the-spoon type o’gal and taste-tests everything herself.
You’ve GOT to check out her chowder for yourself.
I won’t reveal her secrets here, mainly because I couldn’t find fresh poblanos.
Alright, the truth is a toddler in the produce section of the market is very distracting. I probably ran past the poblanos at least a couple of times, chasing Daisy, then gave up and headed home.
I did manage to grab a couple of Anaheim peppers on my way out and Shawn had picked some beautiful jalapenos he’d grown in our garden. There were some criminis (baby portobellos) in the fridge which would give a nice woodsy flavour to the soup. So, I was set.
Here’s what I did.
1 onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, smashed
1 cup crimini mushrooms, diced
2 heads of corn, kernels removed
2 cups vegetable stock
1 Tb butter
1 Tb flour
pinch of cumin
S&P to taste
1/4 cup shaved parmesan (Go for Stella brand)
Roast the peppers.
I just tossed mine onto my stove and was very pleased with the flavour.
Clean-up was surprisingly easy, too.
The outdoor grill (especially if you have charcoal) or the oven would be the more conventional approach.
While the peppers are roasting, brown the onion, mushrooms and corn kernels in a pan with olive oil, salt & fresh cracked pepper until fragrant.
Add garlic and cumin powder.
Gently pour stock over the vegetables and allow it to warm up.
Keep an eye on the peppers so you don’t burn down the house.
Smoosh the flour into the soft butter with a fork. The French call this beurre manie’ and use it to thicken liquids.
Incorporate it into the stock mixture until the lumps have disappeared.
Remove the peppers when the skin has charred. Put them into a bowl and cover with plastic wrap. The steam will help loosen the skin from the flesh.
Remove the skin and seeds, then dice them.
Add to the pan. Bring the mixture up to heat.
Blend to a smoother consistency, but leave a few of the ingredients visible.
Finish with the cream, garnish with some shaved parmesan and serve with some crusty French bread.