Corn Challenge 2015: Summer Corn Soups

Creamy Coconut Corn Soup
Creamy Coconut Corn Soup

After starting to look through the edible Boston magazine I decided to try out all sweet corn recipes featured in the Fall edition all at once.  That being said, the polenta recipe is sitting in my freezer because we simply ended up with more food than expected.  We were going to have some friends over to help devour the newest goodies but things happen and so we are rather busy eating delicious leftovers.  That being said, onto the recipes!

It all started with 5 dozen ears of corn.  They came in one bag and boy was it heavy.  I was able to transfer it from my mom’s car into mine without an issue but then I only got halfway from a parking spot behind my building to the main door before trying to figure out a better way to carry it.  Fortunately, I got a bit of help!  To start the evening, I shucked the whole bag at once.  The next step was to separate the corn bound for the freezer from what I’d be cooking for the recipes.  About two dozen ears were par boiled, stripped of the kernels and put into freezer bags to be used throughout the winter.  After that, the stripped ears were placed back into the water to make stock.  The first soup didn’t use the cobs to make a stock so these cobs went into the stock as well.  After that, a ham bone that had been stripped of its steaks was thrown in and boiled down.  The stock is freezer bound now that its cooled down.  Again, it’ll be used up throughout the winter.  Next up: Corn and Coconut Soup and Herbed Corn Soup.

I like a nice creamy soup.  I am in love with my father-in-law’s corn chowder which features leftover ham and cream.  Yum.  Its what inspired my corn cob and pork butt stock.  With that in consideration, let’s take a look at two new recipes!

The Corn and Coconut soup got a few tweaks just because I couldn’t find the lime leaves or the coconut milk.  The replacements for these ingredients ended up being lime zest and coconut cream.  I’m planning on sticking with these adjustments.  The lime makes the soup feel like summer while the coconut cream makes the soup incredibly rich, thick and homey.

This is a dish to make when you’re craving a touch of summer in the middle of winter but still want the satisfyingly comfort food feeling that just settles leaves you sighing with happiness.  Thanks to the coconut cream the soup was plenty thick so I didn’t puree it and that left the soup with some bite.  Oh, and I used onions instead of the shallots.  I like using pantry items and shallots just don’t make that cut right now.  As far as potential changes are concerned, I’ll probably halve the amount of butter.  I’ll also seriously consider swapping out the spicing from summer time flavors of lime and chili for those of the Herbed Corn Soup.  Both flavorings are good but the Herbed Corn soup smelled like winter whereas the Corn and Coconut soup smells like summer.  It boils down to what you’re looking to experience in your kitchen as you prep your pot of soup.

Herbed Corn Soup
Herbed Corn Soup

I was really excited by the sultry scents emerging from my stock pot as I boiled the corn cobs with the first set of herbs.  The beau came home after a day of me cooking up a storm and I’m pretty positive that it was this particular dish made his stomach grumble.  It left a distinct feeling of fall comfort in the air.  I like that it uses both the kernels and the cobs.  Its also an incredibly healthy soup.  Yes, there is a ton of butter but the flavoring is seriously corn kernels on top of veggies with a bunch of herbs.  The one big adjustment I made was to shorten the kernel cook time from 20 minutes to five.  I like a bit of crunch.  They are fresh, after all!  This one needed to be pureed to achieve a somewhat thick texture.  It ended up working really well because it finished the soup off so that it had a creamier texture than I had been anticipating (pat, blend, rest, repeat).  The big question, though, is whether or not I’d make this soup again and I’m not sure which way I’d turn at this point.  Its healthy, has a lightly creamy feel and is relatively simple to make but it doesn’t call to me the way a more creamy soup would.  If I were to serve this, it would probably be at a dinner party where it acted as a course.  Soup, salad, main, and dessert.  Summer only, though.  The menu would play out something like Herbed Corn Soup, butter lettuce topped with goat cheese, pepitas and a cranberry dressing of some sort, salmon paired with a green herb dressing and grilled peaches.  Ice cream optional.  Or not so optional…  Essentially, it would be the summertime version of comfort food.

The final conclusion is that I’d eat the Corn and Coconut Soup as a stand alone dish and would be happy to have it set up as my lunch for a week.  It is easier in the sense that you could easily use frozen corn anytime of year to make it.  The Herbed Corn Soup strikes me as a dish I would use to complement a summertime meal.  Its a whole food approach where you use as much of the product as possible – minimal waste.  You could easily replace the new/whole veggies in the broth with scraps like carrot peels and celery tops saved in the freezer for soups like this one.  I love this concept but it will be labelled as a fresh, summer only dish.  Either way, I’m taking ideas from both recipes!

 

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