It’s soup season… yes? Gluten Free Corn Chowder with Green Chile is a soul-warming, zesty soup with southwest flavors reminiscent of a green chile tamale, and perfect as a starter course. Add your favorite protein and make it a meal! Dairy free option too!
Well, it’s fall (in most of the northern hemisphere?). We really don’t have seasons in south Texas, but we try to pretend by eating soups and stews. Haha. Actually, we’ve enjoyed a couple of weeks of perfect temps in the sixties and seventies, so I am not complaining.
I may have mentioned before that we do try to reduce gluten and dairy, though we don’t follow a restricted “diet” per se. SO. I tried (successfully I might add) using gluten free masa flour instead of wheat flour for the roux, and I use non-dairy coconut creamer in place of half n’ half or full fat milk.
I hesitated before deciding to call this a “green chile” chowder rather than a “Hatch green chile” chowder. While this New Mexico girl adores Hatch green chile, I don’t live in NM anymore, and it’s become harder to keep in my freezer.
On the other hand, I use a lot of POBLANO CHILES. Life on the border does have its perks… Poblano chiles are available year ’round in McAllen, but also widely available throughout the US. I suspect, but do not know for sure, they are available in other countries as well.
At any rate, this delicious gluten free corn chowder features corn (fresh and masa) and green chile. I will offer suggestions for making it your own just before the recipe!
Using Masa Harina as a Gluten Free Thickener
As I have mentioned a few times on this blog, I do not follow a restricted diet, but I do seek to reduce both gluten and dairy. This gluten free corn chowder was a
rather successful experiment.
Mexican food and masa harina are a ubiquitous pairing. TORTILLAS. And tamales. I love the earthy flavor it brings to dishes, and I was intrigued with the idea of using masa to thicken a soup with a Mexican vibe.
I used masa harina as though I normally would – by toasting it a bit with the oil and aromatics before adding liquid. I subsequently found recommendations of using the masa mixed with liquid and then added to soups to thicken. I prefer to toast it first with the oil and aromatics. Both methods will work.
If you want the soup thicker after all the liquid is added, feel free to add a bit more masa mixed first with broth or water.
Making Gluten Free Corn Chowder with Green Chile
- chopped green chile
- corn kernels
- chopped onion
- minced garlic
- masa harina
- salsa verde
- coconut creamer or half n’ half
About Roasting Green Chiles and FAQ
Fresh poblano chiles prior to going under the broiler to be blackened.
Poblano Chiles with their blackened skins after they’ve been blackened.
A glass casserole with lid allows the chiles to steam for 10 minutes +/-.
As I mentioned above, Hatch green chile is my preference, but poblanos are a fine alternative. The process will be the same if you need to get them roasted.
I no longer have a gas stove (always my favorite method of charring chiles). I will occasionally use my gas grill, too, but I find this method to be easiest. Put the chiles on a baking sheet that can handle intense heat. Put the pan very close to the broiler heat element. Watch the chiles closely, and move/turn them as they blacken.
When the green chiles are well-charred, place them in a covered casserole or paper bag to steam. Some sources suggest a plastic bag, but I do not like to use plastic more than necessary, and I don’t like the hot chiles coming in contact with the plastic.
After 10-15 minutes, the chiles will be soft and the blackened skins loosened. Remove the blackened skins, stems, and seeds, then rough chop them.
Of course you can successfully substitute chopped green chile. I suggest using fresh frozen rather than canned such as Bueno chopped green chile. You may even be fortunate enough to have frozen Hatch chile in your freezer!
What do you mean by “coconut milk?” Do not confuse non-dairy coconut creamer with canned coconut milk used in Thai, Vietnamese, Caribbean cooking. Rather, you will find it in the dairy section of your market near the other creamers, half n’ half, whipping cream. It has a similar mouth feel and consistency to half n’ half but is non-dairy and has less fat and calories. I often use it as a very good substitute for half n’ half or cream.
What kinds of green chile can I use? You will need 2-3 cups of chopped green chile. You can use fresh but it needs to be charred and prepped first (see above instructions). Frozen chile is a good option as well. Canned chile tends to be bland and very soft, so I do not recommend it. Poblanos, Hatch, Anaheims all work well.
Do I have to use fresh corn? While fresh corn is awesome, it adds more work and is not always available. Use frozen and thawed or canned. I recently made the chowder with the fire-roasted canned corn from Del Monte, and it was delicious.
Chowder Work Flow
Mis en place – prep your ingredients first! ALWAYS. In this case, your green chile should be prepped (even if you just need to thaw and drain it), your corn should be off the cob, thawed, or rinsed and drained.
Add oil, onion, garlic to a soup pot over medium-high heat. Sauté 2-3 minutes until onion begins to soften and mixture is fragrant.
Add the masa and cumin. Stir an additional 2-3 minutes until masa is fragrant.
Add the corn and prepared green chile, followed by the broth/stock and salsa. Cover and simmer 10 minutes.
If possible, use an immersion blender to partially purée the soup. Keep in mind, you want some bits of corn and green chile. If you do not have an immersion blender, carefully add about half of the mixture to a blender, purée until smooth, then return to the pot.
Add 1 cup of creamer or half n’ half, and bring up to a boil. Add more as needed to get to a chowder consistency. If it’s too thin, make a slurry of a tablespoon of masa with about 1/4 cup broth/stock and add in. Again, bring up to a boil.
As soon as the desired consistency is achieved, season with sea salt and pepper. Garnish with chopped cilantro and crumbled cotija if using.
Enjoy! We certainly do. In fact, when I made it for 2 of our adult sons, they enthusiastically shared a photo on Facebook and exclaimed “one of the best things we’ve had in a long time!”
- 1 tablespoon coconut or olive oil
- 1 medium onion, chopped
- 1 teaspoon garlic, minced
- 2 teaspoons ground cumin
- 2 cups fresh, canned, or frozen corn kernels
- 4-5 poblanos roasted, peeled, stemmed, seeded, and chopped (about 2 cups chopped)
- 1/4 cup salsa verde
- 1 cup broth/stock
- 1 to 2 cups coconut creamer or half n' half (see notes)
- sea salt and fresh ground pepper
- cilantro and crumbled cotija (garnish)
- Add oil, onion, garlic to a soup pot over medium-high heat. Sauté 2-3 minutes until onion begins to soften and mixture is fragrant.
- Add the masa and cumin. Stir an additional 2-3 minutes until masa is fragrant.
- Add the corn, chopped green chile, salsa, and broth/stock. Cover and simmer 10 minutes.
- Either use an immersion blender to partially purée the chowder, or remove about half to a blender and purée until smooth. Return it to the pot.
- Add 1 cup creamer or half n' half. Bring to a boil. Adjust if necessary. See post under blender photos if it's too thick or too thin.
- Season according to preference, then garnish as desired.
Important: Coconut creamer or half n' half NOT canned coconut milk.
An immersion blender definitely makes the chowder easier, but a blender works too. I have tried it both ways, and prefer the immersion blender. You want about half of the mixture smooth and half chunky.
We made this chowder a main dish with the addition of some crumbled bacon. Turkey ham would be a great option as well.
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Amount Per Serving: Calories: 307 Total Fat: 11g Carbohydrates: 45g Protein: 14g