Caldo Con Queso (Spicy Cheese and Chile Chowder)

Caldo Con Queso

I just enjoyed two bowls of this soup for breakfast.

According to a Hatch Valley Chile Festival site: “Hot chile peppers burn calories by triggering a thermodynamic burn in the body, which speeds up metabolism.”

I’m not sure about the thermodynamic burn part. Sounds kinda wonky to me. Nevertheless, the quote eased my guilt as I ladled a second generous cup of this chowder into my breakfast bowl and watched a glistening gentle rain pelt the plants in my atrium. Life is good.

Recently, my Trader Joe’s started carrying frozen bags of Hatch chiles. On a try-a-new ingredient impulse (something that happens to me often), I bought a bag and tucked it away in my over-filled freezer. There is always room for one more frozen package, right?

But what to make with the chiles?

Then this recipe popped up in one of my nocturnal crawls through the recipe blogs. It’s wonderful–all the things a good chowder should be: thick, creamy, and flavorful with Just the right proportion of potatoes. As a welcome bonus, this chowder is gently spiced with a full cup of Hatch chiles.

I made it yesterday as the rains began and Juliet was contentedly napping. I find few things more pleasurable than cooking on a rainy day.

Don’t wait to try this recipe.

Who can’t use a good thermodynamic burn this time of year?

The link to the original recipe on the blog can be found at the end of this post.


Yields 6 to 8 servings

Caldo Con Queso

A gently-spiced potato, corn and tomato chowder.

15 minPrep Time

25 minCook Time

40 minTotal Time

Save RecipeSave Recipe


  • 1 T. olive oil
  • 1 yellow onion (diced)
  • 1 carrot (diced)
  • 1 stalk celery (diced)
  • 1/2 T. oregano leaves
  • 1 T. minced garlic
  • 6 C. vegetable broth
  • Kernels from one corn cob (about 1 cup)
  • 2 medium red potatoes (diced but not peeled)
  • 1 C. diced tomatoes (I used fire-roasted)
  • 1 C. roasted green chiles (I used Hatch chiles from Trader Joe's frozen section)
  • 4 T. butter
  • 4 T. flour
  • 6 T. milk
  • 8 ounces queso fresco (grated or finely diced)
  • 8 ounces mild cheddar (grated or finely diced)
  • Chopped cilantro for garnish


  1. Heat olive oil in a large soup pot. Sauté onion, carrot, garlic and celery in the olive oil until the onion begins to soften. Stir in the oregano leaves. Pour in vegetable broth. Add corn, red potatoes, diced tomatoes and green chiles. Bring soup to a boil and then lower heat and simmer for about 20 minutes until the potatoes have softened but still hold their shape.
  2. Meanwhile, in a large sauce pan, melt butter and stir in flour. Stir flour/butter mixture over the heat until the flour takes on a light brown color. Whisk in milk and continue whisking until mixture starts to thicken. Mine thickened pretty quickly, so watch your pan at this step. Add more milk if necessary.
  3. Add flour/butter mixture to the soup, whisking it in and continuing to whisk until the soup thickens.
  4. Add cheese to the hot soup by handfuls just before serving. Thin soup with additional milk or vegetable broth as necessary.
  5. Garnish with chopped cilantro.


This chowder will get very thick stored in your refrigerator. Thin with additional milk or vegetable broth.



The link to the original recipe can be found here:

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