Southwestern Chicken Chowder W/ Roasted Corn and Poblano Peppers

"Based on recipe by Paula Deen, with generous liberties taken. Also, this may seem like a lot of work, but most of it is prep. You can do this ahead. Trust me, the outcome is well worth the effort!"
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  • Spread whole kernel corn one-layer deep over cookie sheet. Roast at 400 for approximately 15 - 20 minutes, until kernels brown slightly. Remove from pan; reserve. (If you prefer not to roast corn, that would be fine.).
  • Peel potatoes and chop, about 3/4". Place in pot, cover with water plus one inch. Do not add salt. Cook through; when fork passes through potatoes easily, they are done. Drain and reserve.
  • Heat oil in large stockpot over medium heat. Add carrots, onions, garlic, poblano peppers (see note #1 below), salt, white pepper, cumin, all chili powders or blends (see note #2 below), and thyme. Saute for 7 to 8 minutes, or until the vegetables begin to soften.
  • (**For a more creamy soup, when the veggies are tender, add a cup of chicken stock to mixture and transfer to blender. Puree and return to the pot. Alternatively, for half creamy/half chunky consistency, take half (or more, or less) the veggies, add the stock and puree, then return to pot.**).
  • Stir in chicken bouillon (suggestion: do it by quarters and taste. Too much bouillon can add unneeded salt). Add (the rest of) the chicken broth, tomato sauce, cinnamon, nutmeg, cilantro and corn and cook for 10 to 12 minutes, or until the carrots are tender. After this, add potatoes and the chicken and cook, stirring frequently, until the chowder is thick and the chicken and potatoes are heated through.
  • Shortly before the chowder is done, melt the butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the flour and stir to combine. Cook, stirring frequently, for 3 to 4 minutes to cook the flour. Do not allow the mixture to brown! Ladle 1 cup of the hot liquid from the stockpot into the skillet, whisking constantly.
  • When the first cup of liquid is incorporated, add another 2 cups of liquid, 1 at a time. Pour the mixture in the skillet into the stockpot, whisking to blend. Cook, stirring frequently, for 3 to 5 minutes longer, or until the mixture begins to thicken. Remove pot from the heat. Stir in cream, blending, heating. Serve.
  • note #1:Green poblanos are always cooked or roasted. Use broiler or gas oven. After 80% of the skin has blistered, place poblanos in brown paper bag for ten minutes. Then under cold running water rub off tough outer skin, seed and peel, then chop/dice.
  • note #2: Canned chipotles work as well, simply mince them and add to soup according to desired heat. Dehydrated chipotles work too; grind them then add according to desired heat.
  • note #3: Go slowly with nutmeg and cinnamon, as these are unique flavors. Some like more, some like less.
  • note #4: Salt and pepper amounts listed are somewhat conservative. Adjust to your personal taste.

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I love cooking comfort food with a gourmet twist.
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