“I decided to put a spicy, smoky, cheesy spin on the soup by using chipotle peppers and lots of Cheddar—my personal favorite combination. I serve the chowder with a mix of fresh toppings to brighten up the soup, like diced avocado and lots of cilantro. It’s creamy-tasting without feeling heavy.”
1. Place the bacon in a large Dutch oven. Cook, stirring, over medium-high heat until the bacon is crispy and the fat has rendered, about 5 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the bacon to a paper-towel-lined plate. Drain off all but 1 tablespoon of bacon fat.
2. Add the onion to the pot and cook, stirring, until soft, about 5 minutes. Add the corn, potato, poblano, chipotles, and garlic. Season with salt and pepper and stir to combine. Pour in the broth. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer until the potato is soft, 10 to 15 minutes.
3. Transfer half the chowder to a blender and pulse a few times; you want to keep it a bit chunky rather than puréeing it. Return the chowder to the pot. (Alternatively, use an immersion blender to blend lightly directly in the pot.) Stir in the milk, Cheddar, and pepper Jack. Cook, stirring, until the cheeses have melted and the chowder thickens slightly, about 5 minutes. Stir in the cilantro and remove the pot from the heat.
4. Ladle the chowder into bowls. Top with the reserved bacon, avocado, yogurt (if using), cotija, and cilantro. Serve immediately.
Excerpted from Half Baked Harvest Every Day by Tieghan Gerard. Copyright © 2022 by Tieghan Gerard. Photographs by Tieghan Gerard. Published by Clarkson Potter/Publishers, an imprint of Random House, a division of Penguin Random House LLC, New York.
Originally featured in 3 Hearty Soups for Chilly Winter Days