Chilled Corn and Cucumber Soup

ny lottery

Tired of corn yet? Sorry I just can’t get enough. And I recently learned that I’ve been throwing away Batons of Gold my entire life. Seriously, I’ve thrown away every ear of corn I’ve ever eaten and I feel like a horse’s patoot. SAVE them! You can throw them in a pot (with some onions, herbs, whatever), cover them with cold water, and in an hour or so you’ve got CORN STOCK! You can use this corny liquid to cook quinoa, or rice, or polenta, and all your friends will be asking what makes it taste so good. And, of course, it’s great for corn soup.

Stocks in general are super-easy, made with things you would normally throw away (chicken carcasses, shrimp shells, asparagus peels, etc), and taste so incredibly delicious there is no reason not to try it. All you need is an onion or two, really, but feel free to add thyme or a bay leaf or other miscellaneous vegetables like leeks or celery. Homemade stocks of any description add an extra punch to any meal, so if you’re a fan of compliments, try it out.

Knowing this, I couldn’t resist buying some corn at the farmer’s market to embark on a corn soup journey. The cucumbers were on display riiiiiight next to the onions, so I got the idea to add cucumbers and make this a chilled soup. Shucking the corn isn’t the most fun thing ever, and neither is cutting the kernels off the cob, but once you’ve got this done, the soup is pretty much made.

Get the cobs in a pot, cover ‘em with water, chop a peeled onion into quarters and throw that in with some salt and peppercorns. Bring it up to nearly a boil and then turn the heat down to a simmer. It should simmer (not boil) for an hour to an hour and a half. You can skim off any scum that rises to the top. While this is going down, prepare the other ingredients.

Roast the kernels of corn, tossed lightly in olive oil, salt, and pepper, in a 350⁰ oven for 15 minutes. While that’s roasting, peel and slice your onions and soften them down in a pan with some butter, garlic, salt and pepper. The onions should eventually be soft and translucent, not brown and caramelized, so do this on a low-ish heat, stirring occasionally. It takes about 25 minutes. Finally, peel and take the seeds out of 2-3 cucumbers and chop them roughly. The easiest way to get the seeds out is to cut the cucumber in half lengthwise and use a spoon to dig out the trench.

When your stock tastes corny, it’s done. Put a large sieve into a large bowl and pour in the contents of the stock pot. You can discard what falls in the sieve (the cobs & onions), and save that beautiful stock in the bowl. In batches, puree 2 cups of stock, 1 cup of corn, 1 cup of onions, and 1 cup of cucumbers. Add ½ teaspoon of salt each round. Let the blender go on longer than you think so that the soup gets smooth. Chill it down in a large bowl and add the juice of one lemon. You can garnish it with some thinly sliced cucumbers, or, as my friend Jaclyn suggested, a dollop of crème fraiche!

Recipe:

For the stock:

  • 8 ears of corn, kernels removed and set aside for later
  • 1 large onion
  • 6 cups of cold water
  • 1 ½ teaspoons of salt
  • 10 peppercorns

For the soup:

  • Kernels from the 8 ears of corn
  • 2 tablespoons of olive oil
  • ¼ teaspoon of salt
  • Fresh ground pepper
  • 2 large or 3 medium onions, peeled and sliced
  • ¼ stick of butter
  • 1 clove of garlic, crushed
  • ¼ teaspoon of salt
  • Fresh ground pepper
  • 2-3 cucumbers, peeled, seeded, and chopped
  • 1 ½ teaspoons of salt
  • Juice of one lemon

Serves about six

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One Comment

  1. Frances
    Posted August 17, 2010 at 2:34 pm | Permalink

    These posts are so corny.

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