Roasted Poblano Soup is easy and tastes like it simmered for hours. Sweet corn, ground beef and a touch of cream for a satisfying meal. Easily made vegetarian but still flavorful without the beef.
Roasted Poblano Soup combines all the flavors and texture of a satisfying meal and it doesn’t take long to make; especially if you roast your peppers ahead of time. Poblano peppers, also known as Pasilla peppers, have a gentle heat, but full-on, may still be too much for some. Luckily, the heat is easily controlled and can be made not hot at all if you scrape off all the membranes and discard the seeds. If you like a little heat, leave the membranes intact, and if you like quite a bit of heat, save the seeds when toasting the peppers and toss them into the soup. I’ve made it medium-hot (all the membranes, none of the seeds) and mild; the hotter version was too much for my youngest but my husband and I loved it. There was just enough heat that you felt it but you still couldn’t get enough of it.
The ground meat is ultra tender when browned just on the outside then removed with a slotted spoon while the rest of the ingredients simmer together. Adding the meat back in toward the end to finish cooking-through results in a juicy bite. I’ve only made this with 80% ground beef but I imagine ground turkey would work fine. You might need to add some olive oil after you remove the turkey to cook the veggies. And chicken would be fabulous as well as ground bison.
The mild leeks and sweet corn are perfect partners with the poblanos. The sweetness given off by the corn helps round out the heat, and the leeks are less bold than regular onions. Use fresh or frozen corn, both are delicious- and if you can find it, frozen fire-roasted corn is flavorful and adds a nice visual interest. Another addition some of you might like is a handful of small red potatoes, cut in half and tossed in at the same time as the leeks.
I like a good amount of broth in my soup to scoop up with all the chunky goodness so I increased the broth amount quite a bit from the original recipe, but I kept the cream amount at a minimum. The cream can be omitted but does help smooth out the heat and bind all the flavors, so even if you add just a little, it’s a good combination. When creating the broth, I puree some of the corn with a bit of the broth in a blender before adding to the soup. You can skip this step, but doing so flavors the broth even more and thickens it a little. My family seems to like it fine either way. (Pictures are shown without the pureed corn.)
I’ve also made this soup several times without any meat for a fabulous vegetarian option. With all the flavor from the peppers, corn, and leeks, you won’t miss the meet. Leave out the cream for a tasty vegan meal.
As I’m having the last bowl of Roasted Poblano Soup for lunch right now, take note; it’s even better the next day.
Roasted Poblano Soup
- 6 poblano peppers
- 1 pound ground beef, 80% lean
- 2 large leeks, rinsed and sliced
- 3 cups corn kernels, fresh or frozen, divided
- 8 cups chicken broth or vegetable broth, divided
- 1 cup heavy cream, more or less to liking (can be omitted)
- Sea salt and fresh ground black pepper, to taste
To roast peppers:
- Preheat the broiler. Cut poblanos in half lengthwise and remove stems. If you don't want a lot of heat (or none at all) remove seeds and membranes. I like to at least leave in the membranes for a little heat; it really adds to the overall flavor. Arrange the poblanos on a parchment-lined sheet pan, skin side up. Position the pan 4-6 inches under the broiler; cook until charred black, about 8-10 minutes. Transfer the poblanos to a bowl or place in paper bag, cover or seal and let steam for 10 minutes, then peel and chop the peppers, discarding the skin. Set aside.
Make the soup:
- In a large pot heated to medium, add the ground beef. Cook, stirring often, until the fat is rendered and the beef has begun to brown, about 8-10 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, remove and reserve the beef, leaving the fat in the pan.
- Add the leeks, stirring occasionally, until they have softened, about 5 minutes.
- Add the poblanos and 2 ½ cups of the corn, stirring occasionally, 2-3 minutes.
- Add remaining ½ cup of corn and 1 cup of the chicken or vegetable broth into a blender and blend until smooth (this step is optional but adds a nice sweetness to the broth, plus thickens it a little).
- Add final 7 cups of broth to mixture and cook until just simmering. Add the ground beef back into the soup and cook another 2-3 minutes.
- Stir in the cream, being careful not to let the soup boil too hard so the cream doesn't separate.
- Season with the salt and pepper, to taste.
- Serve immediately. Leftovers refrigerate well.