Mexican Idaho® Potato Cheese Soup with Poblano Crema
- 1 large onion, chopped
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 tablespoon sunflower oil
- 2 tablespoons butter, divided use
- ¼ teaspoon red chile pepper flakes
- 1 teaspoon cumin
- 2 pounds red Idaho® potatoes
- 1-12 ounce craft beer of your choice*
- 1 cup low sodium vegetable or chicken broth
- 1 cup water
- 1 poblano (pasilla) chile
- ¼ cup half & half, divided use
- 6 ounces Monterey Jack, cheese, shredded
- ½ teaspoon sea salt and pepper to taste
- Garnish: chopped avocado, fresh cilantro and crumbled queso fresco cheese (optional)
- Heat oil and 1 tablespoon butter in a heavy soup pot over medium high heat. Add the onions and cook for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, Add minced garlic and cumin, cook for another minute. Add the beer. Remove the mixture to a blender and process until you have a smooth puree. Set aside.
- While the onions are cooking, peel the potatoes and cut into 1 inch cubes. After the onion mixture has been transferred to the blender, add the potatoes to the soup pot with another tablespoon of butter. Cook, stirring occasionally, until potatoes are fragrant and turning golden.
- Add onion mixture back to the pot with the potatoes, along with one cup of stock and 1 cup water. Bring mixture to a simmer and cook until potatoes are tender, about 20 minutes. Remove from heat. Mash the potatoes thoroughly with a potato masher.
- While the potatoes are cooking, char the chile pepper in a skillet, over a gas flame or in the broiler until the skin is blackened. Put in a baggie or paper bag to steam for about 5 minutes. Then remove the skin and seeds. Resist the temptation to rinse the chile - water it will dilute the wonderful smoky flavor of the chile. Chop the chile. Add to the blender with 1/4 cup of half & half and puree.
- Whisk a cup of the warm soup into the half & half, then add to the pot with the grated cheese and whisk until blended. Add more broth or water if mixture is thicker than you prefer. Serve hot and garnish with cilantro and/or avocado and Queso Fresco crumbles.
A good amber-colored beer with smoky, caramel or spicy notes adds a distinct flavor, but low sodium or vegetable broth may be substituted for the beer if you prefer.