Roasted Corn Chowder with Lime

View toward Abiquiu by Karina Allrich
View toward Abiquiu, New Mexico.

Roasted Corn Chowder with Lime

A young rattlesnake curled on a flat warm stone by the laundry room door yesterday. So easy to miss, I almost walked right by him as I carried a basket of rolled clean socks and sleeve-tucked tee shirts. He was next to invisible, pristine and silent, his distinctive pattern dovetailed into pinon-filtered sunlight.

It was pure animal instinct to turn my gaze left and spot him. One sharpened second out of my usual preoccupied saunter. I backed away and sprinted (with a moment of rare agility) into the casita to fetch Steve.

I think you should see this! I blurted, interrupting his work at the laptop. My husband didn't hesitate. He's found the Save key before I can deposit my dryer warmed cargo on the bed. He knows the desert gives up unexpected gifts. He doesn't want to miss a trick.

We stared in tandem at the tiny threat for three minutes until the youngster uncurled and nosed himself back into the rock embankment.

After all the excitement, I settled in with a mug of tea and searched through blogs, looking for some indefinable solace or connection. One moment of relief from my isolation. Looking for others navigating the serpentine process named the incomprehensible name of peri-menopause.

What I found instead was one veiled advertisement after another. Chatter about soy and phyto-estrogen creams. Herbal remedies promising relief. A litany of symptoms and wallet emptying cures.

But no wild wisdom.

The perky Remember, it’s natural! doesn’t help me much through this intricate, sweaty mess, Darling. It does nothing to quell my dizzying, racing heart. We seem a generation without much guidance in these feminine arts beyond denial. We really have no ample bosomed baudy comfort. No grinning painted shaman. At least I don't. Every woman before me in my extended family had hysterectomies. Cutting out the sickened uterus. Circumventing hysteria (the root word and meta implication after all). Then came the HRT they swallowed with promises of eternal youth conquering the cruelty of Nature via horse urine.

When I was new in this process, oh yeah. I tried the yam creams. The vitamin E. The herbal teas. The yoga poses. After awhile you begin to weigh the cost and benefit of all this focused energy. You get tired of fighting. Fighting It. Cajoling It. It's exhausting, and I exhausted and bored myself with all the research and reading. What I spent on menopause books and yam cream could have bought several cases of organic dark chocolate.

Twelve years into it now, I just feel ridiculous.

How many hot flashes does it take? How many sweaty necks and palms and damp upper lips- as you stand in the bank lobby listening to a mortgage broker discuss the local art scene (and it is all you can do not to claw your way to the door)? How many sleepless two A.M.'s, lying in the dark listening to your husband's even breathing? How many bumps of acne, and broom hair that pulls out in fragile nests when you brush it, standing in front of the mirror noticing, with a startle, there is a stranger looking back?

A creature other than yourself. Some tired woman with an eggshell smile. Longing to feel engaged. Ravished.


Roasted Corn Chowder Recipe with Lime and Cilantro

An easy family favorite- my roasted corn chowder with fresh lime juice and mild green chiles- is a perfect recipe for early fall. Because nothing is quite as sweet as savoring the last fresh corn of the season. And the perfect accent to these southwestern flavors? Cilantro.

Roasted Corn Chowder Recipe with Lime and Cilantro

Recipe by Karina Allrich posted 2006.

Mornings by the mesa have been brisk and bright. These first few clear-as-a-bell days of fall always put me in the mood for soup. Harvest time is precious. So take advantage of the dwindling corn harvest and make a big pot of our family's favorite- roasted corn chowder. We usually make it vegetarian, but I have also made it with pieces of cooked organic chicken.


1 tablespoon olive oil
1 teaspoon cumin
1/2 to 1 teaspoon curry or chili powder or paste, mild or hot, to taste
4-5 cloves fresh garlic, chopped
1 medium sweet onion, diced
3 ears of corn, roasted, kernels removed
1 large sweet potato, peeled, diced
1 14-oz can Muir Glen Organic Fire Roasted Diced Tomatoes with Green Chiles
1 cup seeded, chopped fresh heirloom tomatoes- I used yellow and pink
4 oz. chopped roasted green chiles
1 quart light vegetable broth
1 14-oz can coconut milk
2 rounded cups* cubed organic tofu or cooked chicken pieces
Sea salt and ground pepper, to taste
A quick drizzle of organic raw agave, to taste

To serve:

3 tablespoons fresh chopped cilantro
Fresh lime juice from 2 juicy limes


Heat the olive oil in a large soup pot over medium heat and stir in the cumin and curry or chili powder; cook for one minute to infuse the oil with spice.

Add the chopped garlic and onion. Stir and cook for five minutes. Add the roasted corn, sweet potato, canned fire roasted tomatoes, fresh tomatoes, green chiles; stir for a minute. Add in the broth.

Cover and bring to a high simmer. Lower the heat and simmer gently, until the sweet potatoes are tender, about twenty minutes or so.

Add the coconut milk and tofu (or cooked chicken). Stir and season with sea salt and ground pepper; and add a drizzle of organic raw agave to taste. Heat through gently- please don't boil it.

Just before serving, add the chopped cilantro and fresh lime juice. Stir. Taste test. Adjust seasoning. The lime juice brightens the taste and accents the spice. Agave cools the hotness.

Garnish with a lime wedge and pass out the spoons. Slurp. Smile.

Serves 6-8.

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Karina's Notes:

If you don't care for cilantro just leave it out. Use fresh basil or parsley. And while we're talking changes, if you're not a fan of coconut milk and you'd rather use traditional moo-cow milk in your chowder, Darling, feel free. Be happy.

If you are using dairy instead of coconut milk, add a good splash of light cream to this recipe just before serving. (Do not boil.) This makes it a rich and super creamy chowder.

Add some chipotle powder or smoked paprika if you like your corn soups smoky.

Serve with warm corn tortillas or corn muffins.

This soup was even better the next day.

This chowder works well cooked slowly in a Crock Pot; add the coconut milk and tofu or cooked chicken 30 minutes before serving and heat through.

Add the lime juice and cilantro just before serving.


Note: This recipe was originally entered into Kalyn's Kitchen Weekend Herb Blogging event: Your Favorite Herb.

Check out Elise's Corn Chowder at Simply Recipes

Recipe Source:

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