Yes, a second soup post this week. But, soups are so easy and tasty that we often make them up for lunch. This one uses a couple of ears of corn that we picked up in our CSA share. Another reason for the soup is that we can have it ready and just warm it up when we want it. Today, that will come in handy, since we need to run all the way across town later this morning.
We saw a version of this recipe at Once Upon a Chef, and we think we might have used another of her recipes in the past, but we did make a slight change to work with what we had available, and scaled it back to make just a couple of bowls. Perfect for the two of us. Sound good to you? Well, let’s get shuckin’ and scratchin’.
The original recipe called for shallots, and, while we love shallots (and leeks, too), we didn’t have any. We did have white onion, so that’s what we used. If you have fresh thyme, we suggest using it as in the original; we didn’t, so we couldn’t. Naturally, with a title like fresh corn soup, you want fresh corn. If you think that frozen corn might be acceptable, just go off and taste frozen corn alongside fresh corn. That’ll provide your answer. Vegetable stock is something we just don’t buy as it’s easy to make at home. We save up vegetable scraps and simmer them in water with a bay leaf for 45 minutes (the stock is simmering as we write this).
Procedure in detail:
Prepare corn. Pull off the husks and silk from the ears. It’s hard to get all the silk since it seems to wedge between kernels, but it won’t hurt you and the soup is blended smooth, so don’t worry too much. Cut each ear in half and remove the kernels from three of the halves. Keep the cobs, too, as we’ll simmer those to add extra flavor. The fourth half-ear of corn is to add some kernels to the soup after we’ve blended it smooth.
Cook onions. Melt butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add onions, sprinkle with salt and pepper, and cook, stirring occasionally, until the onions are tender, about 8 to 10 minutes. If the onions start to brown, they’re starting to cook too long or too fast.
Add broth and corn. Pour in the broth, add the kernels of corn, the corn cobs for extra flavor, and that piece of corn that still has kernels on it. Add the thyme at this time, too.
Simmer. Increase the heat and bring the soup to a boil, then reduce it and simmer, turning the cobs occasionally, for about 10 minutes, so the corn kernels are cooked.
Remove cobs and reserved corn. Use a slotted spoon or large fork to remove the corn cobs, and discard. Also, remove the half-ear with those reserved kernels and let it cool. Once cool, cut off the kernels and reserve, discarding the cob.
Add basil and simmer. Add the leaves of basil; you can chop them roughly if you want, or just tear them into pieces as we did. It won’t matter once they hit the blender. Let the soup continue to simmer for another 10 minutes.
Blend. Transfer the soup to a blender and let it cool for about 5 minutes. Cover the blender loosely (use a clean dish towel over the vented lid) and blend until smooth. very smooth. With a high-powered blender, we blend on high for about a minute; your blender may differ.
Strain and add kernels. Strain the soup into a clean saucepan and add the reserved kernels. If needed, gently warm the soup.
Season and serve. Taste and add salt and pepper as needed, perhaps even a slight bit (1/2 teaspoon) of white wine vinegar to bring out additional flavor, or perhaps not, and serve into bowls, placing a sprig of basil in each. If you don’t have nice-looking sprigs, take a few leaves and cut into very fine strips (chiffonade), which always looks good.
This is a good soup, and it tastes like fresh corn, but, just so you know, even though it’s corn soup, with the fresh basil in there, it does come out with a slight green coloration. We’d consider leaving it out of future batches to make the color of the soup more what you’d expect. We like the corn kernels in the soup to provide textural interest, and the thyme flavor pairs perfectly with corn. The only slightly negative comment is that we’d have liked for the soup to be a bit thicker (that probably would be the case if we’d used three ears of corn, which is closer to the proportions in the original recipe). But, still, for that great, fresh corn taste, an easy four stars.