Fresh, sweet corn, tender scallops, spicy roasted poblano chili…mm mm good. Corn chowder with seafood is light but still sufficient for a cool eary-fall evening. I am a big fan of chowders; as delicious as the thick and rich ones are, I prefer the classic chowder flavors with a less-dense body. It’s a healthier way to enjoy a favorite recipe. —TheThinChef
2 with leftovers
thin slices pancetta, diced
medium onion, diced
clove garlic, minced
Coarse salt and ground black pepper
smoked paprika (optional)
dry white wine
cobs fresh corn, kernels removed and cobs reserved
Roast the poblano: situate oven rack to highest position and preheat broiler. Lightly rub poblano with vegetable oil. Line a small baking sheet with foil, place pepper on prepared baking sheet, and place under broiler. Broil pepper until skin is beginning to char, about 5 minutes. Flip pepper, and broil about 5 minutes more, or until it is uniformly soft and skin is mostly brown and black. Remove pepper from oven, place in a paper bag (or in a bowl covered with plastic wrap). Set aside for 8-10 minutes, then remove stem from pepper, and peel away skin (it should come off easily). Cut pepper in half, remove seeds, and roughly chop.
In a large stockpot, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add pancetta, and cook until meat is crisp and fat has rendered. Remove pancetta with a slotted spoon, and set aside. Pour off all but about 1 tablespoon fat (or leave it alone if there’s about that much in the pan).
Add onions, season with a big pinch of salt and a few grinds of pepper, and stir. Cook until onion is beginning to soften; add garlic, and cook until very fragrant. Add smoked paprika, if using, and stir to combine. Add wine, and using a wooden spoon, scrape any bits from the bottom of the pot. Simmer for 1 minute.
Add corn, corn cobs, roasted poblano, clam juice, stock, and potatoes, and simmer, covered, about 15 minutes, or until potatoes are tender. Remove cobs and discard, then add scallops.
Add half-and-half, and simmer (do not boil) until scallops are fully cooked and chowder is lightly thickened. Top each bowl with reserved pancetta or bacon, and garnish with cilantro, if desired.