Fresh corn soup with poblano chilis

Contributed by Preston Maring, MD

Fresh corn soup with poblano chilis

Choosing fresh, seasonal, local, and sustainably farmed produce has more than just health benefits. It also results in a reduction in the total food miles, or the distance food travels from where it is grown or raised to where it is ultimately purchased or consumed (from "plough to plate"). Local produce helps us lower fossil fuel and pesticide use and provides economic benefits for small farms. 

I learned about this soup from a superb cook in the family. Part of the fun of making this soup was using different chilis for different batches. Try Anaheims, Pasillas, Poblanos, or Chilacas. They all have different degrees of heat. 

Save this recipe for a weekend as it takes some time.


  • 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, minced
  • 1 medium carrot, minced
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 teaspoons dried or 2 tablespoons fresh thyme
  • 2 teaspoons dried basil or 2 tablespoons fresh basil, chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon crushed red chilis
  • 5 cups corn kernels, approximately 10 ears (cut these off the cob in a large bowl)
  • 1 quart chicken stock
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 chili of choice, roasted, skinned and minced
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped cilantro
  • 1 ounce queso fresco or feta cheese
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons milk, maybe more


  1. Skewer the chili. Blacken it over the stovetop burner. 
  2. Put it in a bowl and cover with plastic wrap to steam a little. 
  3. When cool, rub off the skin with a paper towel or peel it off with your fingers. Mince the chili. 
  4. In a mini-processor, purée the cheese and add milk until a cream-like consistency is achieved. 
  5. Heat the oil in a large pot over low heat. 
  6. Add the onion, season with a little salt, cover and "sweat" until soft, about 5 minutes. (“Sweating” the veggies means cooking them so they get soft, but not brown and crunchy. The latter wouldn't be good in a yellow soup.) 
  7. Add the carrots, cover and sweat for another 5 minutes. 
  8. Add garlic, herbs and crushed red chilis, then cover and sweat for 5 minutes.
  9.  Add corn, season with salt, cover and sweat 5 minutes. 
  10. Add chicken stock, bring to a boil, cover and simmer 5 minutes. 
  11. Purée in blender in batches for 3 minutes remembering the safety tip of covering the lid with a towel to let the steam escape and prevent hot soup from spraying all over the kitchen. 
  12. Return soup to the pot and season with salt and pepper. 
  13. Ladle soup into bowls, stir in chilis and cilantro. 
  14. Drizzle with the cheese "cream" and serve. This is absolutely worth the effort.