By Christie Vanover | Published June 18, 2011 | Last Updated December 28, 2022
Last night, my cousin sent me a photo of a restaurant menu board and asked me if I had a recipe for the dish. The board said, “corn and chili bisque ~ southwest spices with plump corn kernels, jalapenos, mild green chilies and tomatillos in a creamy, golden vegetarian broth with garlic and cilantro.”
Not only did I not have a recipe, I’ve never even made a bisque before. So I was up for the challenge. She didn’t know what restaurant she ate at, but after a quick google search, I think it was Au Bon Pain. Their site is great. They give full nutritional information for their menu items, including a list of ingredients. Although most of the ingredients were listed on the menu board, it left out a couple of key ingredients like tomatoes and sugar.
The one thing I noticed about the ingredient list though is that it was full of added stuff, implying that they used canned chilies, tomatoes and tomatillos. If you want to make this soup in a hurry, you could use canned veggies and frozen corn, but it turned out great using fresh ingredients.
One more very important tip: I thought I would puree this in the blender in batches. Well, the soup is really hot…I know what you master chefs are thinking, “She blew the top off from the build-up of steam.” Nope, I remembered to loosen the center cap. Instead, the soup was so hot that the blades heated up too much and melted the plastic part on the base that spins the blade.
I was going to finish pureeing the soup into my food processor, but after a quick post on facebook, my food friends recommended an immersion blender. But of course! I just bought one of those a couple of months ago. I’ve just never used it for soup. It’s so much better than a blender. You can puree the ingredients right in the pot, less dishes, less mess. That’s what great about experimenting. I’m always learning new tips and techniques.
This was a fun challenge, resulting in a creamy soup full of fresh summer flavors with a zest of the Southwest, and the longer the soup sits, the better it tastes. Bon appétit!
Corn and Green Chili Bisque
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 jalapeno minced
- 2 Anaheim peppers minced (or 1 4-oz. can green chilies)
- ½ red bell pepper minced
- ¼ large onion diced
- 2 cloves garlic minced
- 1 6- oz. can tomato paste
- 2 tomatillos diced (or 1 28-oz. can tomatillos)
- 2 Roma tomatoes diced (or 1 14.5-oz. can diced tomatoes)
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 8 cups 10 ears of corn (or frozen)
- 1 tsp. cumin
- 1 tsp. smoked paprika
- 2 tsp. kosher salt
- 1 tsp. black pepper
- 32- oz. vegetable stock
- ¼ cup cilantro leaves chopped
- 8 oz. cream
- juice of 1 lime
- In a large soup pot, melt the butter and olive oil together over medium heat. Sauté the peppers and onions, about 3 minutes. Stir in the garlic and tomato paste. Add the tomatillos, tomatoes and sugar and sauté for about 3 minutes.
- Add 6 cups of corn into the pot along with spices. Sauté for 2 minutes. Add the vegetable stock and cilantro. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer for 30 minutes.
- After the flavors have married, puree with an immersion blender.
- Stir in the cream. Stir in the lime juice. Add the remaining 2 cups of corn. Heat for about 5 minutes.
- To serve, ladle the soup into a bowl and garnish with tortilla strips or a crushed tortilla chip and a cilantro leaf.
This estimate was created using an online nutrition calculator
It was Au Bon Pain. I used to have lunch at a music school whose cafeteria is open to the public. Au Bon Pain was their soup vendor, and that was the exact placard for the Corn and Green Chili Bisque. I tried it on a whim one day, and from then on whenever it was on the menu I would get two of the largest size.
First tried this soup at my job’s cafeteria. I liked it so much that I looked for the recipe and found yours! My family and I have enjoyed it so much. We added chicken to our soup and topped it off with avocado & sour cream. Loved it! Thank you, so much for posting this recipe!!!!!
Christie Vanover says
Fantastic. Thanks for letting me know. So glad you enjoyed it.
Ruth McGhee says
Can I put this soup in a Nijah to puree it after everything is combined? Thanks
I haven’t used my Ninja for soups, but it’s worth a shot. Because the ingredients are hot, you will probably want to slightly open the spout to remove steam…just be careful not to burn yourself.
Ruth McGhee says
I cannot find the tomatillos. What can I substitute for this item?
You could leave them out or add more regular tomatoes. It will change the taste some. Tomatillos are a little more tart than regular tomatoes.
Ruth McGhee says
What type of cream do u use for this recipe? Is this the same cream u would use for coffee?
I use heavy cream. You could also use half and half.
I’m sure your cousin send you ABP(mean a good bread) menu.. Reheating frozen soup.
I had this soup in my cafeteria now..simply loved it and googled for the recipe and found yours.
Will make this weekend.
I just made this soup for dinner tonight and your recipe is now my favorite for soup. Quick and easy to make (I used my immersion blender), and even my husband who is skeptical of vegetarian dishes loved it, with just enough heat! Thanks!
Oooh, this looks like a very nice combination of flavors! I was thinking of making a cream of corn and green chili soup and wondering what to add to it so it wouldn’t be too bland– I’ve gotten some great suggestions from your post! Thanks!
juli p says
I am sitting at my desk, eating a bowl of this soup from Au Bon Pain, loving every spoonful! so delicious!
I will be making this, using up all the frozen grilled corn from the past summer…..YUM!
Juli P says
Made this last night, it was delicious then, but even better for lunch today! thanks for sharing this.
I loved this soup in college and was looking forward to trying your version. It was delicious and will be put into the rotation of soups at our house! Thanks for creating it 🙂
sawsan@chef in disguise says
That was really creative of you…recreating a dish without a recipe
Sorry about your belnder and glad you came out unharmed