Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Sweet Corn Soup

I don't know about you, but during the Summer I cannot get enough of fresh corn and tomatoes in all of their guises. They are absolutely my staples during the few months that they are available. I really love eating seasonally. It is such a natural process. I end up binging and by the time the peaches and tomatoes are winding down, I'm ready to move on to apples and kabocha squash.

A few days ago I was looking around the kitchen trying to figure out what to make for lunch. I did of course have corn and tomatoes, but there really wasn't much else. So I decided to make corn soup. I love corn soup and corn chowder! One of my favorite recipes is in The Greens Cookbook. It is spicy with roasted poblano chilies and tomatillos. But I didn't have poblano chilies or tomatillos. I was forced to keep it simple. And I'm so glad I did.

This soup comes together in under an hour. You chop an onion and saute it in some butter. Add in some corn kernels cut from the cob. Cover with water or stock. And here is the secret. You simmer the corn cobs along with the kernels. The corn cobs intensify the corn flavor and have some thickening power.

After simmering for 25 minutes, you remove the cobs and puree the soup in a blender. I kept about a cup of corn on the side to add back to the puree. I love the creamy soup with a few bits of whole kernels. Contrasting textures are a good thing.

And for more contrasts, garnish the soup with some chopped tomatoes and basil. The contrast of the warm creamy soup with the cool tomatoes is so good. The tomato garnish is really not optional. The corn soup is sooo sweet. Like candy sweet. So you really need the brightness from the tomatoes to bring it all together.

Sweet Corn Soup

This recipe makes quite a lot, probably enough for 6 or more people. I actually like making more than I need. I've been bringing this with me to work all week to have for lunch.

3 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 large yellow onion, diced
6 cups of corn kernels cut from about 7 ears of corn (reserve 4 cobs, broken in half)
4 cups water or stock
Salt and pepper

creme fraiche
chopped basil
diced tomatoes

Warm the butter in a soup pot until melted. Add the diced onion and a teaspoon of salt and cook for about 5 minutes until translucent. Add the corn kernels and stir to coat. Add about 3 cups of the water or stock, enough to just cover the corn. Add the reserved corn cobs. Bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to simmer gently for about 25 minutes. Skim off the brownish foam forming on the surface during the first 5 minutes of simmering.

Remove the pot from the heat. Remove and discard the corn cobs. Ladle the soup into a blender and blend for at least 1 minute. You will probably need to do this in batches. You may or may not want to reserve a ladle full of corn to add back to the pureed soup.

Season the soup with more salt and pepper. Add more water or stock to achieve the consistency that you like. You can add a touch of cream, but I prefer to add a spoonful of creme fraiche to each bowl. Garnish the soup with the diced tomato and chopped basil.


  1. I like a secret like that...I will be simmering my cobs from here on in.
    looks really good.
    I always like the recipes you choose.
    It's so hot in rome I am wilting, need to get out of the city.

  2. Thanks Rachel. It's so fun to share secrets!

    It sounds like you need more granita!