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Cooking

Late-season corn soups

Three recipes deliver the sweetest spoonfuls.

By Adam Ried
September 19, 2010

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Late September in New England: The sun seems particularly golden, days are warm and evenings chilly, and the farmers’ markets are still cranking. Soups with fresh corn are ideal now, warming us up on cool nights while making the most of the last sweet, local ears we won’t see again until next summer. With bacon, smoked trout, and cream, the chowder leans toward decadent, while the Pennsylvania Dutch soup with dumplings is more restrained, yet every bit as satisfying. In the bisque, corn with roasted tomatoes makes a last blast of summer.

Corn and Smoked Trout Chowder Makes about 3½ quarts

6 cups corn kernels cut off 6 medium ears

2 cups milk (not skim)

4 slices bacon (about 4 ounces)

1 large onion, finely chopped

2 ribs celery, finely chopped

Salt and pepper

2 cloves garlic, minced

2 teaspoons minced fresh thyme

1 teaspoon smoked paprika

1 quart fish stock or 3 cups clam juice with 1 cup water

3 medium Yukon gold or red potatoes, peeled and cut into ½-inch cubes (about 4 cups)

1 cup heavy cream

8 ounces smoked trout, broken into large flakes

¼ cup chopped fresh parsley

In a blender, puree 2 cups of the corn with the milk until smooth, and set aside. In a large Dutch oven over medium-low heat, cook the bacon until rendered and lightly browned, about 8 minutes. Leaving fat in pot, remove the bacon, drain and cool it, crumble, and set aside. Return the pot to medium heat, add the onion, celery, and a pinch of salt, and cook, stirring frequently, until soft and light golden, about 8 minutes. Add the garlic, thyme, and paprika, and cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add the stock or clam juice and water and the potatoes, increase the heat to high, and bring to a strong simmer. Reduce the heat to medium-low, cover the pot, and simmer until the potato cubes begin to soften, about 12 minutes.

Increase the heat to medium, stir in the cream, smoked trout, corn puree, remaining corn kernels, 2½ teaspoons salt, and pepper to taste, then cover the pot, return to a simmer, and cook, stirring occasionally, to warm soup and blend flavors, about 10 minutes. Taste the soup and adjust the seasoning, if necessary, stir in the parsley, and serve, garnishing with the bacon.

Pennsylvania Dutch Chicken and Corn Soup with Dumplings Makes about 3½ quarts

6 cups corn kernels cut off 6 medium ears

6 cups low-sodium chicken broth

2 tablespoons unsalted butter

1 large onion, finely chopped

2 celery ribs, finely chopped

1½ teaspoons minced fresh thyme

Salt and pepper

½ teaspoon crumbled saffron threads (optional)

1 large egg, plus 1 egg white

6 tablespoons milk (not skim)

1 cup all-purpose flour

1/8 teaspoon baking powder

2 skinless, boneless chicken breasts, about 8 ounces each, cut in ½-inch cubes

1/3 cup chopped fresh parsley

In a blender, puree 2 cups of the corn with 2 cups of the broth until smooth, and set aside. In a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat, heat the butter until it stops foaming. Add the onion, celery, thyme, remaining corn, and 2 teaspoons salt, and cook, stirring frequently, until the onion softens, about 7 minutes. Add the remaining broth and saffron, if using, increase the heat to high, and bring to a boil.

Meanwhile, in a small bowl, beat the egg, egg white, milk, 1 teaspoon salt, and pepper to taste until uniform. Add the flour and baking powder and stir just until smooth.

Reduce the heat to medium-high and, using two dinner spoons, drop clumps of batter about the size of an almond into the pot to make dumplings. Cook, stirring frequently, until the dumplings float to the surface, 2 to 5 minutes. Add the chicken and pureed corn mixture and simmer until the chicken is cooked through, about 5 minutes. Taste the soup and adjust the seasoning, if necessary, stir in the parsley, and serve at once.

Roasted Tomato Bisque with Corn and Basil Makes about 3 quarts

3 pounds (about 6 medium) tomatoes, halved crosswise

2 tablespoons butter

1 large onion, finely chopped

Salt and pepper

1 clove garlic, minced

1 tablespoon tomato paste

6 cups low-sodium chicken broth

1/3 cup long grain-white rice

½ cup chopped fresh basil

6 cups corn kernels cut off 6 medium ears

½ cup half-and-half

Set the oven rack in the middle position and heat the oven to 450 degrees. Squeeze tomato halves into a sieve set over a bowl to remove seeds; save the juice. Line a baking sheet with foil, place the tomato halves on it cut sides down, and roast until tomatoes are collapsed and browned, about 55 minutes, rotating the pan halfway through cooking time. When the tomatoes cool, slip off and discard the skins and set the tomato halves aside.

In a large Dutch oven over medium heat, heat the butter until it stops foaming. Add the onion and ½ teaspoon salt, and cook, stirring frequently, until soft, about 7 minutes. Add the garlic and cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 40 seconds. Add the tomato paste and cook, stirring, about 40 seconds. Add the broth, rice, roasted tomatoes and their juices, and the reserved tomato juice, increase the heat to high, and bring to a simmer. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer, stirring occasionally, until the rice is tender, about 25 minutes. Stir in most of the chopped basil.

In a blender, puree the tomato mixture until smooth, return to the pot, and add corn kernels, half-and-half, 1½ teaspoons salt, and pepper to taste. Heat over medium-low, stirring occasionally, until corn is cooked through, about 8 minutes. Taste the soup and adjust the seasoning, if necessary, and serve, garnishing with the remaining basil.

Send comments or suggestions to Adam Ried at cooking@globe.com.

  • September 19, 2010 cover
  • Sept. 19 Magazine cover

KITCHEN AIDE
Corncob broth

To give your soup another layer of corn flavor, infuse your broth with the cut cobs before adding it to the pot. In a large saucepan over medium heat, bring the broth and cobs to a simmer, then cover the pan and set it aside to steep off-heat for 30 minutes. The broth will take on a subtly sweet corn flavor. Discard the spent cobs and your broth is ready to go.