Friday, July 13, 2012

Emerald Corn Soup

If ever there were a soup indicative of summer, this is it.  Fat, juicy kernels of sweet corn stripped from the cob.  Tomatillos hanging like little lanterns from the plant, just waiting to be removed from their papery husks.  The seductive heat of emerald  green poblanos mingling with the bright heat of jalapeños.

Yes.  That would be summer in a bowl.
I know, I know.  I can hear the grumbles now.  It's summer!  Why would I want soup in the summertime?  Well, durnitall.  If I've said it once, I've said it a million times - soup in the summer is a good thing!  Really, there are soups perfectly fitted for summer.

There are the obvious cold soups like gazpacho and vichyssoise.  But there are also thin, brothy soups (my favorite kind) that can make a satisfying meal without seeming heavy.  Especially if they pack a flavor punch and have goodies floating in the broth.  Oh yes.  And there are also soups with a bit of body that are perfectly satisfying and suitable to the heat.  They might be loaded with fresh seafood.  Or, like this one, they might thoroughly embrace the glorious vegetables of summer.  Plus, this isn't a labor-over-a-hot-stove kind of soup.
Soup and sandwich?  While perfectly fitted for the cold winter months or the chilly in-between months (if we ever get those anymore), can also be my favorite summer month meal.  Make it half a sandwich...remember we're thinking meals that aren't as heavy.

Am I convincing anyone?  Go ahead all ye soup-in-the-summer naysayers.  Give it a go.

Emerald Corn Soup

by Heather Schmitt-González
Prep Time: 20-30 minutes
Cook Time: 45 minutes
Keywords: simmer soup/stew vegetarian nut-free corn chiles tomatillos Mexican

Ingredients (serves 4-6 (~6 cups))
    roasted tomatillo salsa:
    • 14 oz. tomatillos, husked & rinsed
    • 1 (~1 oz.) jalapeño or serrano, stemmed
    • 1 small onion, peel & sliced into thick strips
    • 3 fat garlic cloves, unpeeled
    • water, as needed
    • 1 tsp. salt
    • palmful of cilantro, chopped
    soup:
    • 1 small onion, rough chop
    • 1 large poblano, stemmed, seeded, rough chop
    • 1 Tbs. olive oil
    • 2 c. (from 3 ears corn) fresh corn kernels
    • 2 c. roasted tomatillo salsa (see above)
    • 2½ c. chicken stock or broth
    • 2 Tbs. masa harina
    • ¼ c. cold water
    • salt, as needed
    to garnish:
    • cilantro, chopped
    • corn tortillas, very thinly sliced & fried until crispy
    Instructions
    make the salsa (yield: 2 c.):
    Heat a comal or cast-iron skillet over medium-high heat. Add tomatillos, jalapeño, onion, and garlic. Toast them, turning occasionally, until they are soft and have splotchy black spots on them. Garlic and onion may get done first, simply remove them from the comal and continue cooking tomatillos and chile until done. Peel the garlic cloves and place them into the jar of a blender along with the other charred veggies. Blend until you have a smooth puree. You should about 2 cups; if you have less, add water to make 2 cups. Season with salt and stir in cilantro. Reserve salsa.

    making the soup:
    Heat olive oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add onion and poblano and cook, stirring occasionally, until they are tender, ~5 minutes. Scrape them into a blender jar. Add half of the corn and all of the reserved salsa. Blend to a smooth puree. Set a medium-mesh strainer over the soup pot and pour the mixture through.
    Add the chicken stock to the blender jar and pulse a couple of times to get all of the flavor and goodness left behind. Pour this through the strainer, as well. Press down to get all of the liquid out. Discard solids.

    Bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce heat, partially cover, and simmer gently for 30 minutes.

    Combine masa harina and cold water in a small bowl, stirring until the masa harina is dissolved. Stir into the simmering soup. Allow to cook for another 5 minutes to thicken up a bit (to the consistency of a cream soup). Taste and adjust seasoning. Stir in remaining corn and cook for another minute.

    Ladle soup into bowls and garnish with some chopped cilantro. I also think that thinly sliced and fried tortilla strips would make the perfect garnish.

    inspired by and adapted from Salsas That Cook
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