By Mary Sue Milliken, Susan Feniger, Helene Siegel, Cesare Casella, Jack Bishop, Tom Lacalamita, Heather Dismore, Martin Yan, Dede Wilson, Joan H. Moravek, Kristin Eddy

You can make this lovely corn soup year-round if you use an excellent canned or frozen corn. It makes a nice first course for a dinner party with a grilled meat entree.

To make the Corn and Chile Chowder or any milk-based soup in advance and freeze, cook until the end of Step 1. Then freeze. To defrost and finish, warm the corn mixture in a soup pot and continue the recipe at Step 2.

[Credit: ©iStockphoto.com/evgenyb]

Credit: ©iStockphoto.com/evgenyb

Preparation time: 20 minutes

Cooking time: 40 minutes

Yield: 4 to 6 servings (6 cups)

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 medium yellow onion, diced

1 teaspoon salt

4 cups fresh or canned corn kernels, drained (8 ears fresh corn, two and a half 12-ounce cans, or three 10-ounce packages, frozen)

2 to 3 cloves garlic, peeled and minced

1 teaspoon ground cumin

3 poblano or Anaheim chiles, roasted, peeled, seeded, and diced

2 cups milk or half-and-half

2 cups chicken stock

Garnish: 1⁄2 bunch chives, thinly sliced diagonally (1⁄4 cup)

  1. Heat the olive oil in a large stockpot over medium heat. Sauté the onion with the salt until golden brown, about 15 minutes.

    Add the corn, turn the heat to high, and cook for 5 to 7 minutes, until slightly browned. Stir in the garlic and cumin and cook, stirring frequently, 2 minutes longer. Reduce the heat to low, stir in the chiles, and cook for 2 to 3 more minutes.

  2. Pour in the milk and chicken stock. Bring to a simmer over low heat, being careful not to boil. Gently simmer, uncovered, for 15 minutes.

  3. Pour one-third of the soup into a food processor or blender and puree.

    Stir back into the stockpot and simmer for 5 minutes longer. Serve hot, garnished with chives.

If you can’t get your hands on the more exotic chiles, substitute 2 green bell peppers and 2 jalapeños, both roasted and diced.