In honor of my blog title, I thought I should have at least one recipe which contains a little bit of bacon while still encompassing my general food philosophy. And this soup does it all!
It’s topped with bacon and uses the bacon fat to saute the aromatics while consisting mostly of vegetables.
I bought the corn from the farmstand down the road.
And, while there are a few steps to the recipe, it is still a simple recipe with big flavor.
One of my frequent ‘go-to’ recipes is a homey corn chowder full of corn kernels and chunks of potato. It’s a great recipe for a cool day when you want something warm and comforting. But sometimes I want a more refined, cold soup suitable for a hot day, and this soup fits the bill. There is only a little extra work in pureeing and straining the soup. And of course the agony of waiting for it to chill. But the results are worth it.
The big secret to this recipe is using corn cobs to make the stock. I’ve previously used water or some chicken stock I had on hand (since it wasn’t a vegetarian soup anyway) but I realized I could be throwing away a lot of flavor with the cobs and decided to try simmering the cobs for a while before adding the corn. It turns out that was the answer to the big corn flavor I was looking for and never quite getting. Until now.
Since I’m going for big corn flavor, I don’t use a lot of other flavors in this soup. Some onion and garlic since I barely consider it dinner if I don’t use either of those. A dash of chipotle to give it that little hint of smoky heat. And the bacon, certainly. That provides a smoky, meaty flavor and the satisfying crispness in the topping to contrast with the creaminess of the soup. And lastly, the bright, sharpness of the scallions.
To make this soup you will need to cut the kernels off the cobs. This is something I do frequently all summer long. I’m using fresh corn to make soups, to make salads, to make cakes and muffins. And that means a lot of bouncing kernels getting all over my kitchen! This does make the dog happy (there are few things she loves more than corn) but I prefer to keep the kernels mostly for my recipes and out of her mouth.
Enter a bundt pan. This is, without a doubt, my favorite way to get corn kernels with minimal fuss and minimal mess. (And minimal need for Ginny to engage in dog clean up duty.) This particular pan has the central tube which is perfect to hold the ear of corn safely for slicing while catching the kernels in the well of the pan and is also inexpensive, which means I don’t care if I ding the pan a bit as I work. And generally you will barely ding the pan at all, leaving it in fine form for making cakes when you aren’t making soup.
- 4 ears corn
- 4 slices thick cut bacon, cut in half
- 1 med yellow onion, diced
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- ¼ tsp ground chipotle (or cayenne)
- 4 cups water
- ½ c heavy cream
- 2 scallions, white and light green parts thinly sliced
- salt and pepper
- Take bacon out of fridge so it will warm up a bit while you are preparing the corn.
- Cut kernels from cobs. To keep the kernels from flying all over the place I use a bundt pan. It has a tube in the middle which holds the tip of the corn cob and the well of the pan catches the kernels. A large bowl would work as well. (Just be careful to hold the cob steady since they can slip as you are cutting.) Break cobs in half and set aside.
- Heat a large stock pot on medium low heat. Add bacon and saute, turning as needed, until bacon is crispy and fat has rendered out, about 10 minutes. Transfer bacon to a plate lined with paper towels and set aside.
- Add onions to bacon fat and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened and beginning to brown, about 10 minutes. Add garlic and ground chipotle. Cook 30 seconds.
- Pour in water and add cobs to pot. Bring to a boil over high heat, then heat reduce to medium low, partially cover, and simmer for about 20 minutes.
- Remove cobs.
- Add in corn kernels, reserving ½ cup of kernels. Simmer for 10 minutes, until corn is tender but not mushy.
- Remove pot from heat. Add cream, salt and pepper to taste.
- Using a blender, puree soup until smooth. You will want to do this in two batches. Set a fine mesh sieve over a heat-proof bowl. Strain soup into bowl, pressing on the solids with a spoon to get all the liquids through the strainer.
- Chill soup for 3-4 hours. (For extra chilled soup put it in the freezer for 20-30 minutes before serving.) Adjust seasonings, adding more cream if necessary. Serve topped with scallions, bacon, and reserved corn kernels.