Saturday, 10 August 2013

Cream of Corn Soup, Hot or Cold

I hear the corn is rather late this year, and that there is something of a shortage due to it being late to mature, on account of how cool this summer has been. Fortunately, our local fruit markets seem to have plenty of their own, ripe and ready.  I note the price seems to have gone up. After having tried to grow it myself (and failing) for the last few years, I'm actually okay with that - it's still a bargain, compared to how much work it is and how much space it takes up for a relatively small return in edible produce. Not to mention the raccoons. I asked Robert of 100 Mile Produce what he did about raccoons, and he replied, "They eat an acre." And  he only has nine acres of corn. Yikes!

Anyway, if you want to make it go a bit further than just chowing down on corn on the cob, this is a good way to do it. I served it cold, but given the weather lately it might have been better hot.

8 to 12 servings
1 hour prep time

12 cobs of corn
3 medium shallots
3 or 4 bay leaves
4 tbsps butter
6 tbsps flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon rubbed savory or basil

2 cups milk or light cream
2 cups corn cooking water
2 teaspoons sweet sherry and/or white wine vinegar

Put a large pot of water on to boil for cooking the corn. Husk the corn. Peel and chop the shallots. When the water boils, cook the corn for 5 to 6 minutes, with the bay leaves added to the cooking water. You will likely need to do it in 2 batches, even with a large pot. Cool the cobs of corn under cold water, and save the cooking water. Cut the corn from the cobs, scraping them to remove all the pulp, and set aside the corn from 2 cobs by itself to be used as a garnish.

Next, in a large heavy-bottomed pot, melt the butter and flour together. Add the shallots, and cook over medium heat, stirring frequently, until the shallots are softened and perhaps slightly browned, and the flour and butter well amalgamated. Add the salt, sugar, and rubbed savory or basil, and slowly stir in the milk or cream, bit by bit, stirring well between each addition to form a smooth sauce. When the milk is all in, add the 2 cups of the corn cooking water, again stirring well to blend. Transfer the bay leaves from the cooking water to the soup. Add about half of the larger portion of corn, and simmer for 10 minutes, stirring constantly, until the soup is thickened. Be sure not to let it boil, or the milk may curdle. Remove the bay leaves.

Purée the soup in a blender - it will certainly take 2 or 3 batches - until very smooth. Return it to the soup pot, and add the remaining half of the larger portion of corn and the sherry or vinegar. Either chill or heat the soup, depending on whether you intend to serve it cold or hot. When you serve it up, sprinkle each bowl with some of the small portion of corn set aside for garnishing.

Last year at this time I made Sautéd Beets & Greens.

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