(Photo updated 12/14/11)
Another soup? Yep. I promise I do make things other than soups and stews, but lately I have been making standby types of dishes that have already made it to the blog. On Sundays, I like to play around more with stews and soups.
When I worked downtown, I ate Au Bon Pain’s soup fairly frequently for lunch. Our workplace cafeteria featured a couple of ABP’s soups daily, and the restaurant itself was just a couple blocks away. I always really liked this one soup in particular—corn and green chili bisque. It’s sort of like a spicy corn chowder, but better.
I decided to try and recreate that soup tonight, or at least a similar one. Now, I will throw out the disclaimer that I haven’t worked downtown in over two years—meaning, I haven’t had this soup in over two years. So, I can honestly I say I don’t really remember exactly what it tasted like. But, obviously I knew it had corn and green chiles in it. It was a bisque so it was slightly creamy and pureed. I looked at the published ingredients online, which helped a bit, and ran with the idea.
In my not so humble opinion, I did a pretty damn good job. This soup turned out great! It was very flavorful and had a good texture. I roasted the corn to give it more flavor, and I added some masa harina in with the stock to thicken it up a bit and add a little more corn flavor to the soup. This is a slightly spicy soup, so you can adjust the amount of peppers, etc. to suit your taste. My husband and I really enjoyed it.
To make this more hearty, you can add some cooked, shredded chicken in when you add the cream, just to heat it through. This would be great topped with tortilla strips, sour cream, cheese, cilantro—really whatever you want. Since we didn’t have tortillas, I pulled a few pieces of cornbread from the freezer and reheated it in a 300 degree oven. Corn mania!
(A note: You can wait to puree the soup until after all the ingredients are added, but I prefer to leave some of the corn in for texture. Also, I like to puree early on, because it seems much easier than doing it with a whole pot of very hot liquid.)
UPDATE: I recently had this soup from Au Bon Pain for the first time in over 5 years. And you know what? I MUCH prefer my version. I think it has better flavor and more heat (which I like). The Au Bon Pan version is a touch creamier and more bisque-y but I love the texture of this soup as I make it.
(Photo updated 12/14/11)
Corn and Green Chili Bisque
1.5 Tbsp butter
1 small onion, diced
3 large anaheim peppers, diced
1 jalapeno (remove the seeds and ribs if you don’t want it to be too spicy)
1 red bell pepper, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 (28 oz.) can tomatillos, cored and coarsely chopped (or about 1 lbs. fresh tomatillos)
1 tsp. ground cumin
1/2 tsp. oregano
1/2 tsp. chili powder
salt and pepper
2 cups roasted corn, divided
4 cups chicken or vegetable broth
1/4 cup masa harina (corn flour)
3/4 cup cream, half and half, or milk
In a stockpot or Dutch oven, melt the butter. Cook the onion and all the peppers over
medium heat until tender. Add the garlic and sauté until fragrant, about 30 seconds.
Add the tomatillos, cumin, oregano, chili powder and salt and pepper to taste. Cover and
simmer over low heat for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Add 1 cup of the corn. Use your immersion blender to process the mixture into a thick (and
still slightly chunky) puree. Or, process in a food processor and then return to pot when
Mix the masa harina with the chicken broth until it’s dissolved. Add the broth/masa mixture
to the Dutch oven, as well as the rest of the corn. Increase the heat and then simmer for 15
minutes. Add the cream or milk, heat through, and season to taste.