Few things say summer like fresh corn on the cob and garden fresh tomatoes. In this soup, both of these summer favorites come together to create a rich and creamy summer meal. Regardless of how hot it gets here in Central Illinois, corn soup happens every summer. Sometimes I make this light and creamy version, while other times I make my creamy Corn Chowder. Most of the time though, I make both soups at some point while corn is at its best!
This soup has one special ingredient that takes it from good to amazing. So what’s that simple ingredient you ask? Corn milk! By using the corn milk, it allows you to extract every bit of flavor from the corn cob. Corn milk is sweet and adds such great flavor that kernels alone just can’t match. Extracting the corn milk is easy and so worth it! By adding the corn milk I was able to lighten things up by adding half the original amount of half-and-half to give the soup the right richness.
You can use any variety of garden tomatoes for this soup. I’ve used roma, heirloom and even cherry tomatoes and they all taste great! I have even made this soup vegetarian by using vegetable broth instead. However, unless you are making this for a vegetarian, go ahead and use the chicken broth. I feel that it gives the soup a lot more flavor. This soup tastes best when fresh summer corn is used, but if you are making this soup when you can’t find fresh sweet corn, you can use frozen corn or canned corn. So what are you waiting for? Make this soup while corn and tomatoes are at their best!
Yield: 4 servings
6 ears corn, husks and silk removed (about 3 cups of kernels)
1/2 to 3/4 cup half-and-half
1 pound ripe but firm tomatoes, cored and quartered
1 red onion, chopped
4 garlic cloves, crushed
2 teaspoons of olive oil
2 red bell peppers
2 1/2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
1/2 teaspoon chili powder
1/4 teaspoon smoked paprika
1/4 teaspoon chipotle chili powder
1 teaspoon salt
Sliced avocado for garnish
Extra-virgin olive oil for drizzling
Paprika for garnish
Preheat an oven to 375°F.
Using chef’s knife or corn stripper, cut kernels from corn; Being careful to remove only the part of the corn kernel sticking out of the cob; cutting deeper will pull off fibrous material. Transfer the cut kernels (you should have 3 cups kernels). Transfer to a foil lined baking sheet.
Hold cobs over a medium bowl and using back of butter knife, firmly scrape any remaining pulp on cobs into bowl. Transfer pulp to center of clean kitchen towel set in medium bowl. Wrap towel tightly around pulp and squeeze tightly until dry. Discard pulp in towel and set corn juice aside. Add just enough half-and-half to the corn juice to make 1 cup of liquid; set aside.
Add tomatoes, onion and garlic in a single layer onto the foil-lined baking sheet with the corn. Drizzle with 2 teaspoons olive oil and sprinkle lightly with salt and pepper. Bake for 25-30 minutes until tomatoes skins are darken and caramelized. Remove from the oven and let cool. When the tomatoes are cool enough to handle, peel off the skins and discard. Transfer the tomato flesh and corn mixture to a large dutch oven and set aside. (Reserve a handful of the roasted corn for garnish if desired)
Preheat broiler. Cut bell peppers in half lengthwise, discard seeds and membranes. Place halves, skin sides up, on a foil-lined baking sheet, and flatten with your hand. Broil 10 minutes or until blackened. Place bell peppers in a paper bag and fold to close tightly. Let stand 10 minutes before peeling; transfer to the large dutch oven with corn mixture.
Add chicken broth to the dutch oven and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat to medium-high and cook until the vegetables are very tender, about 10 minutes. Stir in the chili powders, paprika and salt.
Using an immersion blender, blend the soup until smooth.
Add the half-and-half/corn liquid mixture and return to simmer. Season to taste with salt, pepper. Garnish each portion with a couple of avocado slices, a few drops of olive oil, a scattering of the reserved roasted corn and a sprinkle of paprika. Serve hot.
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