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A Corn Soup for Summer or Winter

First, dear readers, a housekeeping item. The spot of press that I’ve gotten over the past couple months was truly unexpected; I’ve spent a couple years in this here little corner of the web, so when people started to take notice, I wasn’t quite prepared. But as of yesterday, I’ve got a shiny new press page that shares links to places where NDP has gotten publicity, so that a) I don’t forget about where the blog has been profiled — I’m a bit forgetful — and b) I can share the good news with you, my wonderful readers and chearleaders. Thanks in advance for checking it out!

Now onward and upward, because I’ve been meaning to tell you about this soup for months.

Frozen corn isn’t exactly a staple in this house. We’ve got corn on the cob coming out of our ears (hehe), a freezer door full of six or seven different kinds of polenta, fancy heirloom hominy, and copious amounts of popcorn. But frozen corn rarely makes it through the door.

All that’s changed, though. In the past couple months, I’ve made variations on this soup at least four times. It’s a simple concept, really. Shallots are sauteed in butter (game over), corn and broth are added with plenty of good spices, and after a long 10 minutes on the stove, the soup is cooled, blended, and finished with buttermilk. Done.

But oh, you know me. I’m not one to leave a recipe alone. I’ve always got to tinker. So I tried adding coconut milk instead of buttermilk, for a Thai-inspired version. Then I added half coconut milk and half buttermilk (the perfect balance, if you ask me). I tried it with chicken broth and vegetable broth; I even tried it with plain water. (Not bad at all.) All said and done, it’s pretty hard to go wrong with this soup. The weather hasn’t even turned miserably hot, and already, it’s a staple.

But by the way, don’t wait for summer to make this, because truly truly, it’s great both hot and cold. No excuses: make this one now.

Corn Soup With Curry and Mint
adapted from F for Food’s recipe on Food52

30 g shallot (about 2), chopped
2 tablespoons butter
1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
3 tiny dried red chilies, de-stemmed
1/4 teaspoon ground yellow mustardseed
1/2 teaspoon curry powder
1 teaspoon dried mint
1 tablespoon salt
10 ounces frozen corn (no need to thaw)
3 cups vegetable or chicken broth (I actually preferred vegetable)
1 cup coconut milk
1/2 cup buttermilk (feel free to substitute all buttermilk or all coconut milk, if you prefer)
several baby leaves fresh mint, for garnish
1/4 cup creme fraiche, for garnish, optional (when I don’t have any on hand, I just swirl in some buttermilk or yogurt)

In a large pot over medium heat, saute shallot in butter until translucent and fragrant, about 5 minutes. Add chilies and all other spices, and salt. Cook about 1 minute, until spices start to release their aromas. Add corn and broth and stir to combine. Turn heat to medium-high, and cook 10-15 minutes. Taste and adjust salt as necessary. Add coconut milk, and stir until combined.

If you have an immersion blender, turn off the heat and blend soup until relatively smooth. If you don’t have an immersion blender, transfer the unblended soup to the refrigerator to cool off about 20 minutes, then blend soup in a blender or food processor. Don’t skip the cooling step, because hot soup can easily explode out of the blender, and yikes…that would suck.

Taste and adjust seasoning again, remembering that if you’re serving the soup cold, the spice and salt will be somewhat muted.

For serving the soup hot: if you blended using an immersion blender, add buttermilk and stir to combine, ladle into bowls, top with a dollop of creme fraiche and a sprig of mint, and serve immediately. If you had to let the soup cool before blending it, reheat, then follow above instructions.

For serving the soup cold: add buttermilk, blend or stir to combine, and refrigerate soup. Follow the same serving instructions as above. Soup may thicken once chilled, so add water or broth to thin out as necessary.

Comments on this entry are closed.

  • Ciaochowlinda May 26, 2010,

    With all those terrific ingredients, how can you not turn out a delicious soup? I need to experiment more and make this soup.

  • That soup looks wonderful. I’ve been thinking about using corn in a soup for a few weeks now, it must be time. All the signs are pointing to it! 🙂


  • Mandy Katz May 31, 2010,

    Soup sounds yummy, Rivka! We’ve been doing a distinctly plainer version for a couple years (no seasonings more exotic than salt and a sprinkling of pepper) but will have to try it with the chilies, coconut, mustard seed, etc.

    Congrats on the media coverage, too! (By the way, the Washingtonian link is missing — it’s a screen shot only.) ‘Pie deserves it!