Every time I make corn soup I come to the same dilemma: leave the kernels whole or blend them?
Leaving them whole works well for a chowder made with cubed potatoes, bacon, cream and some starch to thicken it.
Pureeing the soup with an immersion blender gives the soup a silky, creamy texture and pure corn flavor without the need for too much added fat. Sadly, this leaves behind an unpleasant dividend: a mouthful of fibrous kernel skin with each bite. You could strain it all out, but the process is laborious and messy, and if you remove all the texture then it somehow doesn’t seem like summer corn anymore.
I came up with a great solution this weekend. After pureeing the soup, I partially strained it with a coarse-mesh strainer, ladling the soup through the strainer back into the same pot a few times. Then I added fresh-cut corn kernels at the end, cooking them for about 10 minutes. The poppy, juicy fresh kernels masked the kernel skin, and the soup had wonderful body and flavor from the pureed corn.
I didn’t measure as I was cooking, so please consider this recipe as a rough guideline. It’s great, though, and worth sharing.
Summer Corn Soup
Prepare the corn and reserve about a quarter of it. Fry the onions and the leeks in the bottom of a heavy pot until they are limp and fragrant. Add the three-quarters portion of corn and continue cooking over medium-high heat, stirring constantly, until it begins to stick and scorch a little on the bottom. Add the cumin and chile and cook for one minute. Add the stock and bring to a boil, scraping the bottom of the pot to remove all browned bits. Simmer for about 30 minutes.
Puree the soup with an immersion blender. You’ll need to shake the copious corn kernel skin from the blender a few times. Using a ladle and a mesh strainer, strain the soup back into the same pot, pressing the ladle into the strainer to squeeze out all the juice. Remove about 4 cups of kernel skin this way.
Add the reserved cut corn and the cream, stir and bring to a boil, then simmer for 10 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper, and maybe a bit more cumin.
- by John Kessler for the Food & More blog