I had this soup for the first time at a very fancy wedding in San Felipe del Agua, the ritziest section of Oaxaca. The soup was delicious – creamy but not picante at all. One day I started craving chiles poblanos, and we made the soup for a cooking class. We had just been to the Etla market, where I had bought some requesón (farmer cheese), so we added it to thicken the soup, adding another dimension. The corn tortilla topping contributes a flavor contrast with the poblano. If the soup is too picante, you can double the amount of cheese.
ROASTED CHILE POBLANO BISQUE Serves 6
- 7 chiles poblanos
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 2 medium white onions, thickly sliced
- ½ head of garlic, cloves separated
- Salt and black pepper to taste
- 3 sprigs fresh epazote* or 1½ teaspoons dried (optional)
- 1 quart chicken stock
- 1½ cups milk
- 2 ounces requesón (about 1/3 cup) or ricotta or farmer cheese (with salt)
- *Epazote is also known as Wormseed or Mexican Tea; it can be found in Latin or Hispanic grocery stores.
3 teaspoons Mexican fresh crema, heavy cream or créme fraîche
4 corn tortillas, 8 inches in diameter, cut into thin strips and fried or toasted
In a 10-inch dry comal, griddle or in a cast-iron frying pan or over a open flame, roast the chiles until they blister, turning to roast all sides. Place in a bowl and top with another bowl, inverted, and set aside for 15 minutes to sweat. Peel and remove stems and seeds. Cut the clean flesh into strips; these are called rajas.
In a heavy 4-quart stockpot, melt the butter over medium heat and sauté the onions until transparent. Add the garlic and continue to cook about 5 minutes longer, but do not brown it. Add the chile strips and continue to cook about 20 minutes longer, stirring. Add the salt and pepper and epazote to the mixture, then follow with the chicken stock. Simmer 15 minutes longer, covered, over low heat.
Puree the chile mixture in a blender until smooth. Return the puree to the pot and add the milk. Heat through. Remove ½ cup of the puree and blend with the requesón in a mixing bowl until smooth. Return mixture to the soup and heat through. Adjust salt to taste.
Place the crema in a mixing bowl and beat it with a whisk until smooth. Thin with a little milk if necessary to make a thin stream. Pour the crema in a small plastic bag or squirt bottle. Place a ladle of soup in the bowl. Squirt about ½ teaspoon of crema onto each serving in a free-form fashion. Add a handful of tortilla strips on top in a vertical fashion or serve tostadas on the side.
Hint: Sometimes, I sauté corn kernels in the chile mixture and puree it all to make a corn and poblano bisque; or I sauté the kernels on the side and add them to the pureed bisque.
Excerpted from ¨Seasons of My Heart, A Culinary Journey Through Oaxaca, Mexico¨