Test Kitchen - Creamy Poblano Pepper Soup

When we presented Poblano peppers as the Test Kitchen ingredient, several suggestions came our way about stuffing the peppers somehow. Even looking through the initial search results of Poblano pepper recipes showed them stuffed either to be baked or be used as chile relleno. Given that the days lately have been a strange mix of unbearably hot and uncomfortably chilly, I felt that a soup was in order actually. It had been a while since we had a nice, rich soup to sup on so after some thinking, I pureed together this creamy and spicy soup that is sure to warm you up. It gives a great deal of credit to the roasted flavor of the Poblano too. Try it out yourself.

Step 1: Ingredients (yields 4-6 servings)

  • 2 Tbsps smoked olive oil (I used Enfuso's)
  • 1 cup yellow onion, chopped
  • 4 Poblano peppers, roasted, peeled, deseeded, chopped, and divided
  • 4 cloves garlic, sliced
  • 5-6 medium Russet potatoes, scrubbed and chunked (~4 cups)
  • 1 1/2 tsp smoked sea salt (I used smoked Alderwood)
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1 quart chicken stock (vegetable stock if going vegetarian)
  • 1 cup crema mexicana

Step 2: Prepping ingredients
The longest preparation step in this recipe is the roasting of the Poblano peppers. I tried it in two ways to see what the differences would be. In the picture below, the leftmost pepper was done over the gas range burner and the other two were roasted in a toaster oven. You want the skin to blister and thus be easy to peel; the easier of the methods to peel was the oven-roasted peppers. Once roasted, peel and de-seed the peppers. Chop. Also chop onion, slice garlic, wash and divide Russet potatoes into several large chunks (12-16 pieces each). Set aside 1 cup of crema to come closer to room temperature than cold out of the fridge; this will allow for a smoother mix-in.

Step 3: Making stock
I have been trying to cut back on fat even more in our cooking so though this soup would have been wonderful with some bacon bits, using smoked olive oil produced a similar taste. Heat up olive oil in a large pot before adding in onions. Cook until nearly translucent - add half the amount of Poblano peppers and all the garlic. Once garlic browns on the edges, add potatoes, salt, pepper, paprika, and stock.Cook 20 minutes or until potatoes soften enough to break with a wooden spoon.

Step 4: Finishing
Having an immersion blender would have been handy but since I didn't have one, I transferred the soup contents to a blender to puree. If you have an immersion blender, puree right in the pot. Stir in remaining Poblano peppers after pureeing. Add crema. Bring to a boil. Turn off heat and enjoy.

The next Test Kitchen ingredient: peruano beans (Peruvian beans)
"The beans are particularly popular in Mexico, where they may be eaten alone or placed in other foods like salsa or tortilla dishes. Appearance-wise, Peruvian beans are rather distinctive. Due to their density, they take on a large stature when cooked. An unusual yellow-tan color also marks the Peruvian bean. This color gives the beans yet another popular nickname: canary beans. Peruvian bean lovers prize these beans for their creaminess and softness. In this manner, the beans contrast other bean varieties that may have more of a liquid, soupy, and hard appearance. This particular texture often results from slow simmering of the beans. Bean eaters may describe the taste of these beans as very rich and somewhat buttery." [WiseGeek]

These Peruvian beans were on sale recently at a local supermarket so I figured I ought to explore options with them. Have you ever had them? We'll gladly accept any suggestions as we do with all Test Kitchen ingredients. What do you think should be done with these beans?

Photography by Duc Duong.