Okay, so not an ingredient but a recipe and a sure shot one at that. A rich and silky corn soup without cream or anything fattening. Easy to make. Just takes is a little patience to strain the soup at the end.
What’s in it:
8 ears of corn
1 yellow onion
3 stalks of celery
1 large carrot
Red Chili Flakes (optional)
First: Make a corn stock out of the corn cobs (slice off the kernels off 8 corn cobs first and reserve them). Cover corn cobs in water by 2-3 inches. Add salt and pepper, a sachet with 2 pieces of star anise, 1 tablespoon of peppercorns, and a cinnamon stick. Bring to boil then reduce to simmer and cook, uncovered and at a simmer, for 2 hours. When you are finished, remove cobs and discard the sachet.
Second: In a separate pot, on medium to high heat, saute the onion, carrot and celery in a small amount of butter (1-2 tablespoons) or oil (also 1-2 table spoons…Olive oil is fine though you could use a neutral oil as well). Add some red chili flakes if you’d like but I’d be careful not to add too much. (If you like it spicy add more to your bowl when serving.) When the vegetables are semi-soft (maybe 5-8 minutes), add the kernels of corn. Cook together until soft, I’d say about another 15 minutes, under medium heat. You can add a little of the stock, 1/4 cup at a time, and cover the vegetables to speed up the cooking time.
Third: Set the vegetables aside. When they stock is ready, combine the vegetables with the stock in a blender. You may want to wait until both cool down but that’s not necessary. Blend the vegetables and stock in batches until smooth, adding more stock if it is too thick.
Fourth: When you have finished this step, strain the soup through a sieve or a mesh strainer. This will ensure the corn kernel husks aren’t in the final product. You don’t have to do this step, and it’s a pain in the ass, but I think it’s worth the effort. It makes a noticeable difference.
Finally: You may reheat the soup, serve it room temperature, or even have it cold. Add a pinch of finishing salt–preferably Maldon–and a drizzle of olive oil to each bowl once you’ve plated the soup. You can also add some torn basil leaves and minced chives. Cilantro would work just fine, too. That's up to you.
The key to this soup is using fresh corn–pick it and make the soup the same day if you can–and straining the vegetables at the end.
You’ll knock ‘em dead, Sweetie. Count on it.
[Photo Credit: The Food Club]