The Lenten season, the forty period (excluding Sundays) that begins Ash Wednesday and ends on Holy Saturday (the day before Easter) is sort of a season of contradictions. As a liturgical season for Christians, it’s a time of self-reflection and penance. It’s also time of abstinence and prayer as we prepare for the Easter celebration of Christ’s resurrection and the mystery of our redemption through His offering of self-sacrifice. Yet the season falls in the spring, which seasonally is a time of abundance. Baby animals are born. Trees sprout leaves, and flowering plants bloom. The sun shines a little brighter and the sky seems a deeper blue. Practicing self-denial during the first months of spring, when the natural world is so alive after laying dormant through the winter months, isn’t easy (which is, of course, one of the points of Lenten abstinence). This year, for me, Lent will be even more difficult; I’ve decided to give up meat for the entire forty day observance. No bacon. No steak or hamburgers, grilled to medium-well perfection. No chicken or beef tacos. No smoked pulled pork. In preparation for my meatless Lent, I’ve been examining all my recipes and notes to see what vegetarian dishes I’ve made in the past, or which can be easily made vegetarian. Some of these recipes, such as the following corn poblano pepper soup with roasted corn guacamole recipe, are every bit as rich and flavorful as meat dishes.
This recipe was inspired by a recipe I found at Epicurious.com. I used the exact guacamole recipe, but changed the soup recipe to give it more richness and zing.
- 1 16 oz bag frozen super sweet white corn, thawed
- 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 1 tablespoon finely chopped red onion
- 3 tablespoons finely chopped cilantro
- Zest and juice of one lime
- 1 avocado, chopped and mashed
- 2 16 oz bags frozen super sweet white corn, thawed
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- ½ medium red onion, chopped
- 1 medium red bell pepper, seeded and chopped
- 1 medium poblano pepper, stemmed, seeded, and chopped
- 2 cups chicken or vegetable broth
- ½ cup half & half
- Manchego cheese, shredded
- Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Toss thawed corn with the olive oil. Spread corn on a foil-lined baking pan; sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste. Roast in a 450 oven until most of the corn is golden brown and looks as if it's been left in the oven too long. Removed the corn from the oven and cool completely. To finish the guacamole, mix the cooled, roasted corn with the onion, cilantro, lime zest, lime juice, jalapeño pepper, and avocado. Set aside.
- Heat the olive oil in a large pot. Place the seeded poblano pepper, red bell pepper, and onion in a food processor. Pulse until the vegetables are finely chopped. Place the chopped vegetables in the heated oil and saute until the vegetables are tender. Pour the thawed packages of corn into the food processor. Puree until smooth. Add the corn to the vegetables in the pot. Add the two cups of broth. Add salt and pepper to taste. Using an immersion blender, blend the soup until the corn, peppers, and onion are smooth in texture (the soup can be ladled into a blender and processed a little at a time to achieve the same effect, but I find the immersion blender a much easier way to puree the soup). Once the soup is pureed, stir in the ½ cup of half and half. To serve, ladle soup into bowls. Top the soup in each bowl with a large spoonful of roasted corn guacamole. Sprinkle with shredded Manchego cheese. Enjoy!