Saturday, February 13, 2010

Corn and Green Chili Bisque

Contrary to what my mom thinks, I don't consider myself a very adventurous cook. In a recent email to me, she wrote: "I am much less adventurous than you and therefore tend not to experiment; I'm happy to do the work when I know it will turn out fine. I like someone else to do the experimenting." I tend to feel that way too, at least most of the time, because who likes to cook or bake something with less than stellar results? Something like these muffins I made earlier in the week that were a perfectly good waste of a can of pumpkin.

This week seems to have- at least temporarily- changed my ways. After being snowed in and having four straight days to cook, I was itching to experiment beyond cabbage soup, my soup of choice the last few weeks.  Cabbage is filling and nutritious, but there is only so much cabbage that one girl can eat in a given month.
I've always liked the Corn and Green Chile Bisque at Au Bon Pain. It's a complex mix of spicy and hearty, a filling southwestern style chunky soup with a kick. But the problems with this soup are two-fold: first, it's only served on certain days and it seems that the days I'm passing by ABP during lunch aren't one of them. And second, it's almost $4 for a cup of soup which I'm not going to shell out on a regular basis.

So this week I did something SO unlike me- I attempted to create this soup at home. I assumed the potential risk of failure. But you know what? I did it. I created this soup and it was delicious. NAK even said that it's better than the real thing. Who would have thought that you just dump all the ingredients in a pot, bring to a boil, reduce to simmer and 20 minutes later you produce a soup with a careful balance of spice and restaurant-style thickness and chunkiness, but without the added sodium, preservatives and cost.
Now who ever said that I wasn't adventurous???

Corn and Green Chili Bisque

1 medium onion, diced
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 tablespoons flour
2 14 ounce cans corn, rinsed and drained
2 small cans green chilies
1 14 ounce can chopped tomatoes
2 teaspoons cumin
1 tablespoon chili powder
2 cups milk
2 cups vegetable broth
salt and pepper

Heat the olive oil over medium heat, add the onion and saute but do not brown. Add 2 tablespoons of flour to the onions and stir.

Add the corn, chilies and tomatoes and mix. Add the spices and the milk and broth. Bring to a boil, then reduce to simmer for 20-30 minutes until blended together. Taste then season with salt and pepper.

Pulse soup in the blender or with a hand mixer but do not puree - soup should be chunky. Serve with a dollop of sour cream.


  1. I had this today for lunch (for the first time!) at ABP and it was fantastic. I will try your recipe this weekend.

    I almost always find a way to recreate their soups because no way can I pay those prices every day.

  2. This is the one thing I miss about working. We had an ABP in our building and if I saw they had it that day, I bought it! Turned my boss onto it too. Thanks so much for figuring out this recipe. I'm going to have my soup!!!

  3. Just eating this soup at Wildflower Bread Company and thought it would be a hit with the family. Found your recipe and will try it this week! Thanks for the effort that went into recreating it.

  4. i just followed your recipe (but added red and green bell peppers into the mix) - AMAZING! thank you so much!!!!

  5. I made this tonight. It was very good. We're on vacation in Colorado and it started snowing. this seemed like the perfect meal. Nice job.

  6. I love the Corn and Green Chili Bisque from Spicy Pickle, which I take to be pretty similar to Au Bon Pain, so I was so excited to see your recipe! I have made it once so far (and am making it again right now!)- it was a huge hit and so easy to make! My husband said he liked it even more than the Spicy Pickle one! Thank you so much for sharing! :-)

  7. Thanks for sharing the recipe!! It came out great. Everyone loved it!!

  8. Wonderful recipe. Thank you for taking the time to experiment and post it. I added small cubed chicken breast to the pan with the olive oil first until cooked all the way. Then I followed your recipe to complete it. It made it heartier for our house full of hungry men. Thank you again!

  9. OMG. My husband raves about the ABP soup.. I found the recipe and just finished making it. It is AWESOME. Our kids love it too. Hooray, something the whole family will eat and enjoy.

  10. Jersey Mike's has the same same soup. This recipe will definetly make my home recipe collection. Thank you!!! Elmhurst,IL

  11. Wonderful, warm heat to this soup. Thanks again
    for this good recipe. Elmhurst.IL

  12. I think it's worth mentioning that by green chilis you are probably referring to Anaheim chilis--not to jalapenos or other chilis. I'm speaking from experience, as typically green chilis are Anaheim peppers. The cans I picked up? Jalapenos. Oops! They're about twice as spicey. I added a bit of peanut butter to take it down and served with the sour cream, but there's no way I'm serving that to anyone else. I'm slowly making progress on it, though. ;) Ouch. I'm going to have to try it with milder chilis in the future. One of my first adventures in cooking, and I screwed it up. Oh well. Next time.

  13. Made this for my boyfriend last night and served the soup with breadsticks. Perfect date night recipe! Thanks!

  14. I am so excited you posted this :) I am going to make it ASAP!!!!!!! thank you!!