Tuesday, July 7, 2009

171. Mexican Corn Soup (p. 86)

Summer's here, and that means a bigger selection of beautiful fresh (and sometimes local!) vegetables at the grocery stores and farm stands. One of the greatest summer vegetables is fresh corn, and this recipe* lets it shine.

First, I cooked some garlic, chopped onion and jalapenos in some olive oil. I added some cumin, coriander, salt and pepper, and chopped carrots and celery and cooked it for a while longer.

I shucked eight ears of corn and cut the kernels off the cobs. I put the cobs, some water and chicken stock in the pot and simmered it for a few minutes. This step seemed a little unusual to me at first, but when I thought about it, it made perfect sense. The corn cobs gave the finished soup a boost of corny flavor and a nice creaminess. I added all but one cup of the corn kernels and simmered it for a few minutes more. After the soup was finished simmering, I fished out the corncobs with some tongs and discarded them.

While the soup was simmering, I put a red bell pepper under the broiler, turning it frequently until it was nice and charred. I put the pepper into a zip-top bag to steam for a little bit, and then peeled off the skin (it slips right off), and chopped it and set it aside.

I blended the soup in batches in my blender. (I'm getting pretty good at the whole hot-soup-in-the-blender thing. All it takes is some self confidence. Put a towel over the blender cover, clamp down on the cover with your hand, and hold on for dear life!) The Book says that for an even smoother soup, you can force the blended soup through a fine-mesh sieve. I was pretty happy with the texture, so I skipped this optional step.

I blanched the reserved cup of kernels in some boiling water for just a couple of minutes, and then added the corn to the soup along with the chopped roasted pepper, a dash of cayenne, and a nice handful of chopped cilantro.

This was an excellent soup. It was sweet and creamy with just a suggestion of heat from the jalapeno and cayenne. The whole corn kernels and chopped cilantro gave it a very nice and bright freshness. Summer in a bowl.

Date Cooked: June 26, 2009
Degree of Difficulty: Medium
Rating: A-

* This recipe isn't on epicurious.com.

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