Spicy Corn Soup
As we move from summer to fall, gardens and farmers’ markets are filled with so many options. There’s still some stone fruit available, but we’re also seeing apples and pears. Tomatoes are in full swing. Cucumbers are starting to wane, but eggplants are bountiful; and squash and pumpkin are coming into their own. One of my very favorites, sweet corn, is everywhere.
A place I always visit when in Prosser, Washington is Wine O’Clock. I’ve had the pleasure of dining there a few times and highly recommend it. A couple of years ago a friend and I had lunch there and had the most delicious, fresh-off-the-cob, corny, corn soup! I still think about it. I searched my cookbooks and online for a recipe that resembled the soup of my memory, to no avail. But I did find this interesting recipe from one of Bobby Flay’s shows on Food Network. I recently made this for a dinner with friends where I was assigned the appetizer. I served small bowls of soup along with a couple of tiny, savory scones. The scones are based on Ina Garten’s Cheddar-Dill Scone recipe. It is one of my go-to recipes; it never fails and people love it! I made one-half recipe; substituted a mix of chives and thyme for the dill; then used small 1½” – 1¾” round, square and triangle cutters to make tiny 2-bite scones.
I made a few changes to the soup recipe, too. I think the amount of chipotle in the original recipe was incorrect, although Bobby is known for heat in his food. My advice is to start with the 1 tsp I used and if you think the recipe needs more after you’ve added the cream then add a little more but I would not start with the 1 tablespoon in his recipe. The generous teaspoon added a nice little burn without being too hot. To allow the soup to really highlight the corn, I halved the amount of cream. Finally, I made the pepper sauce as they suggested but it was more pink than red. There wasn’t enough contrast with the color of the soup. So I’ve changed the recipe below to what I would try next time, hoping that by reducing the cream-to-pepper ratio I’d get a nice bright red color. In the photo above I’ve added some of the pepper sauce but stirred it into the soup.
I really liked this soup! Serve it warmed, but not piping hot.
Spicy Corn Soup
Based on a recipe by Lois Ellen Frank via Bobby Flay
- 3 -4 ears corn, kernels cut from the cob, or 3 cups corn kernels (fresh, frozen, or canned)
- 1 Tbsp olive oil
- 1 medium yellow onion, diced
- 1 Tbsp finely chopped garlic
- 1 generous tsp dried chipotle chili powder *see note
- 1 tsp salt
- ½ tsp black pepper
- 6 cups chicken stock
- 1 red bell pepper, roasted, peeled, seeded and diced
- ¾ cup heavy cream
*Note: Jalapenos that have been dried and then smoked are referred to as chipotles. Dried chipotle chiles can be ground into a powder and used for seasonings.
Cut the corn kernels from the cob. You should have about 3 cups of corn kernels. Save the corn cobs and set aside.
In a medium-sized saucepan over medium-high heat, add the olive oil, then the onions. Sauté for 3 to 4 minutes until they are translucent, stirring occasionally. Add the garlic and chipotle chili powder and sauté for 1 more minute. Add the corn kernels and sauté for another 3 minutes, stirring constantly.
Add the salt, black pepper, and chicken stock and bring to a boil. (If you have cut your corn fresh from the cob, place the reserved cobs into the saucepan at this time). Once the mixture has boiled, reduce the heat and simmer for 30 minutes. Stir occasionally to prevent the corn kernels from burning or sticking to the bottom of the pan.
While the corn soup is simmering, roast the red bell pepper. Char the skin of the pepper until it is black over an open flame or on a grill. Or cut the pepper in half, remove seeds and place on a pan in a 450ºF oven. When the skin is blistered and blackened, remove the pepper from the flame and place in a paper or plastic bag and seal. Let steam for 15 minutes. When the pepper is cool enough to handle, peel, seed, and dice it.
Place the diced bell pepper into a blender with ¼ cup of the heavy cream and blend thoroughly for 1 minute. Pour through a fine sieve and discard the contents of the sieve. Pour the red bell pepper sauce into a plastic squirt bottle and set aside. (You could also use a spouted measuring cup to drizzle the pepper sauce.)
Remove the corn soup mixture from the heat, discard the corn cobs and set aside. Place the corn soup mixture in a blender and puree for 3 minutes. You will probably have to do this in batches – make sure you do not fill the blender too full. Cover and hold the blender lid with a kitchen towel to keep the lid from flying off and spraying hot soup everywhere. Pour the mixture through a sieve, stirring to force as much soup through, as possible. Discard the contents of the sieve. Return the mixture to a saucepan, add the remaining ½ cup of heavy cream, and heat, over medium heat, for a few minutes just until warm, stirring occasionally to prevent burning.
Pour into bowls, garnish with some of the red pepper sauce and serve immediately.