Admittedly this is the only way I can eat a corn soup. I’ve never been much of a corn chowder gal, with those bits of corn, vegetables and bacon poking out at me through that thick white broth. Maybe I have a repressed memory somewhere in my head, but the visual of a chunky corn chowder immediately makes me think of… well, let’s just say it starts with the letter ‘v’ and rhymes with ‘mofit.’ And if there’s any truth to the saying that we eat with our eyes first, that image is certainly NOT what I want.
But I do love corn, especially during these summer months when it is at its sweetest. And i do love soup, so I thought, why not just make it simple on myself and turn this into a creamy soup and just garnish with a little bit of bacon, corn and herbs as I see fit. That way if someone I am dining with loves corn chowder, they can pile on as much garnish and swirl it into the my creamy soup to make it appear like the real thing. Best of both worlds.
Of course there are many differences between my soup and a usual corn chowder. The main difference being that my recipe contains absolutely no cream, and if you want to take it to the full vegan level, omit the butter and just use olive or vegetable oil in its place. There’s really no need for butter anyway, since a wonderful creamy texture can be achieved by just pureeing the corn.
For a richer corn flavor, cook the scraped corn cobs in abut 2 cups of water to create a nice broth. You can also add the cobs directly in the pot with all the other ingredients right up until you are ready to puree. The caramelized fennel adds a nice earthy complement to the fresh sweetness of the corn. Finish it off with a nice drizzle of lemon juice to really brighten all of these simple flavors. Finally, garnish with bits of sweet corn, green onions and bacon.
Creamy Corn & Fennel Soup
3 large white corn
1 fennel blub, rough chopped
2 cloves of garlic, rough chopped
1 shallot, rough chopped
4 cups water
4 tbsp butter (use vegetable oil if you don’t want to use butter)
4 slices of bacon (optional. used for garnish)
Serves two people.
1. In a large pot, simmer the remaining corn cobs in a 2 cups of water.
2. Carefully cut kernels off the cobs of corn. Set about half a cup off to the side to be cooked later and used as garnish. For the rest of the corn cook in a large skillet with some butter (or oil), a dash of salt and pepper. cook for a few minutes to bring out that nice sweet flavor. Add to the pot with the corn cobs.
3. Next, in the skillet, add fennel, garlic and shallots with some oil. Add pinch of salt and pepper and cook for about 5 minutes until it begins to soften and caramelize. Once cooked, add to the pot with the corn and cobs. Cover with remaining water and cover pot with a lid and let simmer for about 10-15 minutes. Stir occasionally, and season to taste. If the liquid cooks down too much, add more water and again season to taste.
4. Remove the cobs and transfer the vegetables to a standing blender and puree. Or use a hand blender and puree directly in the pot. Cook the pureed soup for another 10 minutes, adding water and season to get the consistency you desire.
5. As the soup is cooking, prepare your garnishes. Cook four strips of bacon, saute the left over corn kernels so they have nice color, and slice up some green onions.
6. Serve soup hot with some cheese toast or crackers and garnish. Enjoy!