A Taco Night Tradition Includes a Heavenly Recipe for Crema de Chile Poblano

Crema de Chile Poblano

Taco Night is a special tradition in our group of close friends. We slow cook some meat, make some guacamole, gather as many wonderful spicy condiments and corn tortillas as we can and chow down. It’s become kind of a big deal. Since the whole taco night gang was here in Burlington for the holidays we decided to get our families together for a very special Taco Night. What better time to break out the gorgeous cookbook gifted to us from What’s the Soup (The Best Soups in the World by Clifford A. Wright) and choose something amazing to make than Christmas

Taco Night? Exactly.

Now, I’m the everyday cook in our family but my husband is the special occasion guy, so this was his show.  He chose the Crema de Chile Poblano. Straightforward recipe, basic, hearty ingredients, great complement to tacos… perfect. You start by roasting poblanos and garlic, which filled our house with a warm spiciness and made everyone hungry.  Boil and mash a potato, then puree with the roasted garlic and chiles and you have something tasty enough to eat with a spoon on its own. After that you cook some chopped onion in butter right in your soup pot, then throw in the puree and some chicken stock. Simmer. Ahhhhh.

We set up the table and got everyone ready. Naturally we did a taste test before serving and it was incredibly delicious – smooth and smoky and complex, but also a little spicier than we’d planned. A lot spicier, actually. Not bad at all, just hot. We  added a bigger spoonful of creme fraiche (which we used in place of the Mexican crema) to everyone’s bowl and a nice slice of queso fresco. It was heaven. It’s hard to compete with the meat on Taco Night, but this soup was something else.  It might be my new favorite thing to eat, period.  Happy Holidays indeed! The recipe said it made four servings but we served 5 small bowls and had leftovers, which I ate over brown rice the next day (it was awesome).

The best part is, it’s quite healthy. So it fits right into New Year’s resolutions about eating more vegetables, cooking more, making more soup, whatever! Depending on your prep speed, this soup is a 1 1/2 to 2 hour project from start to table, so it’s a great idea for weekend meal with some home made cornbread, or grilled cheese sandwiches. Or, you know, tacos!

Was it fun to make? Yes!
Was it delicious? Definitely! Spicy though. Be warned.
Will kids eat it? If they like the spice, they might. Our more adventurous eater loved it. Our peanut butter and jelly guy, not so much.
Will we make it again? Can’t wait.

Taken with permission from The Best Soups in the World by Clifford A. Wright – 
Crema de chile poblano  (page 193)

Crema de chile poblano

Meal type Chicken, Chicken Broth, Potato
Season Fall, Spring, Winter


  • 3/4 pound russet potato and cubed large

  • 6 poblano or pasilla chiles 

  • 3 large garlic cloves unpeeled
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 medium onion, chopped

  • 6 cups chicken broth

  • 3/4 pound Mexican crema, crème fraiche, or sour cream

  • 5 ounces Mexican queso panela or queso fresco or mozzarella cut into strips


1 Preheat the oven to 435 degrees Fahrenheit. 

2 Place the potato in a pot and cover with cold water. Bring to a gentle boil over medium heat, then cook until tender, about 35 minutes in all.
3 Remove from the oven and let cool. Peel the garlic and chiles and discard the chile seeds.
4 Place 5 chiles and the garlic in a food processor and run until mushy. Add the potato and run the pulses until blended. Cut the sixth chile in strips a set aside.
5 In a pot, melt the butter over medium heat, then add the onion and cook, stirring, until translucent, about 5 minutes.
6 Reduce the heat to low, add the poblano-potato mixture, and cook, stirring, for 15 minutes. Add the chicken broth and cook over low heat for 30 minutes.
Ladle the soup into individual serving bowls and add some strips of the remaining chile, a dollop of crema, and a slice of cheese. Serve hot.