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Author Notes: 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
Serves 2 with leftovers
- 1 poblano pepper
- 1 teaspoon olive oil
- 4 thin slices pancetta, diced
- 1 medium onion, diced
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- Coarse salt and ground black pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika (optional)
- 1/2 cup dry white wine
- 3 cobs fresh corn, kernels removed and cobs reserved
- 1 cup bottled clam juice
- 1 cup chicken stock
- 1 medium Yukon gold potato, diced
- 1/2 pound bay scallops
- 1/2 cup whole milk
- 1 teaspoon cornstarch
- Garnish: chopped fresh cilantro
- 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.