Today is my friend Norma’s birthday. You go, Norma!
Norma is a talented gourd artist whose gourd dolls and masks have consistently won ribbons at the Orange County Fair. Her jewelry is exquisite, too. She is one creative lady!
Norma also is an excellent cook.
On more occasions that I can count, Norma has delivered a tray of enchiladas on my doorstep when the going has gotten rough in my life. I am forever grateful to her for that kindness.
In honor of Norma and her affection for Mexican food, here is an adaptation of a soup recipe from Rick Bayless’ best-selling Everyday Mexican cookbook.
Recipe: Mushroom Potato Crema with Roasted Poblanos
1 1/2 lb. Yukon gold potatoes, cut into 1 inch pieces
3 garlic cloves (peeled and halved)
6 C vegetable broth
1 large poblano chile
8 oz. mushrooms (sliced 1/4 inch thick–about 3 C. sliced)
1 C. fresh or frozen corn kernels
1/4 C. heavy cream or sour cream
1/4 C. cilantro (chopped) for garnish
Cook the chopped potatoes and garlic in 1/2 the broth over medium high heat until the potatoes and garlic are soft.
While the potatoes are cooking, roast the poblano chile under the broiler in your oven (or over the flame of your gas stove) until it is blistered. Remove from oven and put into a paper bag for a few minutes. After about 10 minutes, remove the chile from bag and peel the skin off the chile. Rinse to remove seeds. Chop into 1/4 inch pieces. Set aside.
Remove half of the potatoes from the broth and set aside. Use an immersion blender to puree the remainder of the potatoes in the cooking broth. Add extra broth to the potatoes if you need to to puree the potato mixture. Add the remaining half of the broth along with the reserved chopped potatoes, mushrooms, poblano, and corn to the mixture. Simmer for 10 minutes over medium heat.
Just before serving, add cream to soup and stir. Taste and season with salt. Garnish with cilantro and grated cheese.
Cook’s Notes: Bayless purees all the potatoes in his recipe. I chose to keep half the potatoes whole to give the soup a more chowder-like quality. It’s your call. I used fresh corn for my soup. The corn I bought at this week’s farmers market was sweet and complemented the flavors in this soup. Also, I sprinkled a few strands of cotija cheese on top of the soup at serving time along with a sprinkle of paprika.