The Williams Sonoma catalog came to our house recently, with its glossy photos of improbably expensive, impossibly specialized gadgets. I do enjoy a good dose of random kitchen lust for things like the glass-bowled 90th Anniversary KitchenAid stand mixer (still can’t justify buying one of those), or the meatball grill basket (would I ever use this more than once a year?), or the cherry pitter that catches your pits (because oh the agony of catching pits on a napkin!).
But after rolling my eyes a bit (and spending some time dreaming about the enormous kitchen I would need to warehouse all these ridiculous gadgets), my eye was caught by an excellent recipe for Sweet Corn Soup. Of course, don’t you know that this recipe is all the easier if you purchase their fancy corn cutting thingy, and their new special Cuisinart whizmagog, but really, I got along fine without any of that, and you will too 😉
Here is my version, reduced and altered a bit from their version to suit a simpler set of tools and a smaller number of mouths to feed.
Sweet Corn Soup
4 ears of corn, as fresh as you can get them
1 onion, diced
3 cloves garlic, diced
Red pepper flakes
1/2 pkg of bacon, cut in 1.5″ bits
1. Cut the corn off the ears into a bowl with a sharp knife. Holding the empty cob upright over the same bowl, use the back of a butter knife to scrape down the length of the cod and get out the juicy bits left over. I was skeptical, but trust me this works.
2. Cook your bacon in a soup pot until done, then drain the bacon bits on a plate and save for later. Remove all but a couple tablespoons of bacon fat.
3. Saute onion in the bacon fat until soft and translucent. I let mine get a tiny bit caramelized at the edges. The bacon fat may sound decadent, but it goes well with the sweetness of the corn, and without it there’s not much to this soup, so really let the onions absorb the flavor at this stage.
4. Add the garlic and red pepper flakes to the pot, and stir for thirty seconds or so, then add all the corn kernels and their juices. Cook, stirring only occasionally, for about 10 minutes.
5. Add 3.5 cups of water or vegetable/chicken broth. Add some salt and pepper. Bring the whole pot to a boil, then reduce and simmer for about 20 minutes.
6. Use an immersion blender to blend the soup to your desired texture. Stir in a bit of cream, maybe 1/8 cup or more, and season with salt and pepper again.
Serve hot or cold, with bacon crumbles on top for garnish. Serves 2-3 if you’re really hungry, maybe 4 if you’ve got other food on the table.
We crumbled in some whole wheat buttermilk biscuits to give the soup a little bit of substance. This was a nice light dinner for a summer evening, though with all the stove time (plus the oven at 400 degrees for the biscuits) it might not be so forgiving if your house doesn’t tolerate cooking heat well at the end of the day. But made in the morning, it would be perfect at the end of the day!
I also took the leftover biscuits, whipped the leftover cream with a bit of vanilla and honey, and had a nice simple dessert into the bargain:
…and PS, if you are seven months pregnant and the temperature in your house is creeping toward 80, and you’re tired but you get one of those beautiful bursts of energy, there is absolutely nothing better than cooking all of this in nothing more than shorts and your bra. Nothing in the world.