summertime corn soup

July 10, 2014 § 71 Comments

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Despite the fact that it is summer and the heat has a way of killing our enthusiasm to turn on the stove, I did it anyway;  I made corn soup.  And what a delight!  Sweet corn and tomatoes are the quintessential tastes of summer. Adding a nice plump jalapeño to the soup pot created a softly spiced bowl of summer goodness.

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After shucking your corn and before cutting kernels for a soup you want to eliminate as much silk as possible. A helpful little technique in removing the silk from your corn is to dampen a paper towel and wipe the ear from tip to stem to capture any clinging strands.  A few silk strands left on an ear of corn that’s destined for the grill is no big deal, as they will be quickly singed off.  On the other hand, it is not very pleasant to come across a silk string in your soup.  DSCN2659

Recipe slightly adapted from Fine Cooking Magazine.

I n g r e d i e n t s

  • 4 ears of corn, husks and silks removed
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • Sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon coriander
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 fresh jalapeño, seeded and minced
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 5 medium tomatoes, peeled, seeded and chopped
  • 3 medium red potatoes
  • 1/2 cup half & half
  • 1/2 cup grated cheddar

Hold each ear of corn with the flat end in a large bowl and use a sharp knife to cut down the cob, removing the kernels.  You should have about 2 cups of kernels.  Reserve the cobs.  In a heavy based stockpot, heat the olive oil, then add the onions and 1/2 teaspoon salt.  Cook over low heat until the onions are soft, about 10 minutes.  Add the cumin, coriander, chili powder, jalapeños, and garlic to the pot and sauté until the jalapeños are slightly softened, 2 to 3 minutes.  Add the tomatoes and cook until they release their juices and soften, about 10 minutes.  Add the potatoes and reserved corncobs, and 3 cups of water.  Cover and simmer until the potatoes are tender but still firm, 8 to 10 minutes.  Add the corn kernels and cook for 1 minutes more, until the kernels are heated through.  Remove the pot from the stove.  Remove the corncobs.  Using an immersion blender, blend the soup until about half of it is puréed, or put half of the soup in a blender and purée it, and then combine.  Add the half and half and cheese and return the soup to the stove.  Heat over low heat until the cheese is melted; do not boil.  Taste and season with more salt as needed.  Ladle into soup bowls and serve right away.

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Save the corncobs!  Simmering the corncobs in the soup intensifies the sweet corn flavor.

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Serve topped with red chili flakes and cilantro flowers.  And don’t forget the glass of vinho verde.

fresh corn soup topped with roasted corn guacamole

August 9, 2013 § 64 Comments

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The other day I stopped off at Whole Foods on my way home from work to gather something quick for dinner.  It was already pushing 6pm and I am usually home and have most of the dinner prep work completed by this time in the evening.  Perhaps a caesar salad and something else from the deli would suffice.  I walked through the door and the fresh yellow and white corn display brought me to a sudden halt.  I could just pick up a few ears to add to the salad idea, but no, my first thought was corn soup!   I considered bringing the corn home, look into a soup recipe and make it for dinner tomorrow.   Well, knowing corn needs to be prepared the same day you bring it home I decided to step aside and search for a corn soup recipe, right then and there, in Whole Foods.  (thank goodness for smart phones)  After glancing through the ingredient list from several recipes I found this fresh, spicy, naturally creamy corn soup recipe on Epicurious.   I gathered the few ingredients I needed and headed home.  Simple enough.

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This is similar to a corn chowder, yet lighter and texturally alive with the roasted corn guacamole on top.  We loved using fresh corn right off the cob for this soup and we upped the heat a little by leaving the seeds in the jalapeño.  It was one of those special soups you’ll never forget.  And I always love to hear, “can we have it again…tomorrow?”   If you are considering to prepare this soup…which I urge you to do, please be aware I am posting the method exactly the way I prepared it, however, see my note at the bottom of the recipe “Next time I prepare this soup….” 

Adapted from Epicurious (reprinted with permission from Simply Mexican by Lourdes Castro).

i n g r e d i e n t s

roasted corn guacamole

  • kernels from 3 ears fresh corn
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped red onion
  • 2 tablespoons fresh cilantro, finely chopped
  • 1 lime, finely grated zest and juice
  • 1 jalapeño, stemmed, 1/2 seeded, finely chopped
  • 1 avocado, pitted and diced

soup

  • kernels from 5 ears fresh corn
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 1/2 red onion, chopped
  • 1 jalapeño, stemmed and chopped
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 1/2 cups stock (vegetable or chicken)
  • cilantro sprigs, to garnish

m e t h o d

Preheat your oven to 450°F.  Ask someone to “shuck” the corn for you while you start to clean, peel, chop, dice and grate all of the ingredients.

Put the corn on the cob on a parchment lined baking sheet and brush with olive oil, sprinkle salt and pepper and roast for 30 minutes until corn turns a golden brown.  Remove the corn for the oven and allow to cool. Slice the corn kernels off of the cob and set aside.

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soup

Combine the oil and garlic in a soup pot over medium heat.  Once the garlic is aromatic add the onion and jalapeño.  Season with salt and pepper and sauté until the vegetables are soft and translucent, about 5 minutes.  Add the corn to the pot and using a hand blender puree until it has a smooth texture.

Turn up the heat to medium high and slowly add the stock to the pot while stirring.  Bring to a boil, lower the heat to a simmer and allow to cook for 15 minutes.

roasted corn guacamole

Combine the roasted corn, red onion, cilantro, lime zest, lime juice and jalapeño in a bowl and mix well.  Gently stir in the avocado.  Season with salt and pepper.

Ladle the soup into bowls.  Place a generous spoonful of the guacamole in the center of each bowl and a sprig or two of cilantro.  Serve right away!

Serves 4.

Next time I prepare this soup…

After preparing this soup I learned it is better to remove the kernels from the cob before roasting them.  Not only is this quicker because you do not have to wait for the corn to cool off before slicing the kernels, but it also helps caramelized the corn during roasting which intensifies the flavor of the soup.  After cutting the uncooked kernel off of the cob toss in olive oil, salt and pepper and scatter onto a parchment lined baking sheet and roast for 20 minutes in a 450°F oven.

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