Roasted Poblano Soup
The Scoville units of Poblano peppers can range so greatly that sometimes you want to use a poblano as a vegetable and other times, as a condiment, and you never really know if you've got a vegetable or a spice until you bite in to it. Adventurous, no? Yesterday, I made roasted poblano soup out of my fall stash of balcony-grown poblano peppers. Some of them had turned a bright red while others remained the classic dark forest green. After following the recipe, I took one taste and immediately gulped down 1/2 liter of water, which actually doesn't help much. If you find that your poblanos are too spicy for your palate, you can doctor this soup in a few ways to calm the heat down: add in some green or red bell pepper to soften the impact of the poblanos, add a bit of sugar to contrast the heat intensity or add lots of milk products. I prefer yogurt for thickness but take your pick of milk, sour cream or crème fraiche. Sprinkling on some Mexican queso anejo wouldn't be a bad idea either. The soup is delicious, wakes you up and gets the endorphins kicking. Here's the recipe:
6 green (or red, if you can find them) poblano peppers
4 cups chicken stock
1 tbsp butter
1 tbsp flour
2 cups yogurt (more or less depending on the scoville units of your particular poblanos.)
1 tsp sugar (optional)
salt to taste
cilantro (a delicious option)
queso anejo (another yummy option)
First, roast the peppers on a barbecue grill, over a gas flame on the stove or on the top rack in your oven until the skin is blistered and charred all over. Take off the heat and place in a plastic bag, seal well and wait for about 5 minutes until the steam loosens the skin. Peel the peppers and seed them. (I did this last fall and these roasted poblanos have been in the freezer since. They were in great shape when thawed, so I highly recommend freezing.)
Place the peppers in the bowl of a food processor and whiz until they are reduced to a smooth puree. Add as much chicken stock as necessary to get the peppers moving.
In a medium saucepan, add the butter and melt over medium heat. Add the flour and mix to form a paste called a roux. Fry the roux until it is blonde, about 2-3 minutes. Raise the heat to maximum, add whatever chicken stock you didn't add to the poblanos and whisk to smoothness. Now you have a thin sauce veloute. Add the pureed poblanos with the rest of the stock and whisk in. Add one cup of yogurt and taste for heat. Continue adding more yogurt until your soup is mild enough for you. Add a teaspoonful of sugar to help calm the heat. Music to make hot poblano soup by: "Hot Hot Hot by Buster Poindexter (a.k.a. David Johansen of the New York Dolls) My poblanos were super hot, so I added both cups of yogurt and the sugar. Correct for salt. Serve hot or cool.