Monday, March 24, 2008

Corn Cravings

It is really difficult for me to cook wonderful, fresh, seasonal food during the late winter/early spring time of year. This seasonal wasteland has quickly become tiresome after a bevy of winter soups, endless root veggies, and broccoli/cauliflower overload. Although many of my favorite fish are in season during this period, I find that the vegetables are just not some of my favorites, and don't easily fit into my cooking style. Despite my many attempts to incorporate new and seasonal foods into my cooking repertoire, I can't help but feel pangs of desire for the fruits and veggies of the upcoming seasons. The vegetables of April are so very close, just a few weeks away, but this week I just couldn't wait for fresh corn, which peaks next month and also in June. So, like any good addict, I fell off the seasonal wagon and took to my pantry, where I always keep a stash of canned corn for just such an emergency.

Since I couldn't bring my cheap self to buy corn on the cob out of season (when it's most expensive) I decided to go with a delicious and creamy corn soup. It's the kind of soup that doesn't need a lot to make it tasty, and I've actually made it in the past with just sautéed and pureed corn (which is especially good during the summer), topped with avocado and crispy tortillas. Since I was making this soup during the tail end of winter, I thought I'd make it creamy with some milk and a bit of sour cream mixed in just towards the end. I also sautéed the corn with a bit of onion, garlic and spring onion, adding a pinch of cumin for smokiness, and a tiny bit of cayenne pepper for some kick. The result was delicious, and definitely scratched my springtime vegetable itch. The soup is a vibrant, sunshine yellow and is made even more beautiful with a dollop of sour cream, a few crispy bits of bacon, and a few bright green spring onion rods. I promise to bring you some fresh corn recipes once the season gets here, including Mexican corn on the cob and a fresh corn soup. In the meantime, here's a creamy (canned or frozen) corn soup to tide you over:

Creamy Corn Soup

2 small cans of corn
1/2 an onion, chopped
2 scallions, 1 chopped, 1 cut into long strips for garnish
1 garlic clove, roughly chopped
1/4 tsp cumin
1/8 tsp cayenne pepper
1 1/2 cups chicken stock (or non-tomato based vegetable stock)
1/2 cup milk
1 Tbsp sour cream
2 strips of crispy bacon, chopped

1. Sauté corn, onions, chopped spring onion, garlic, cumin and cayenne until onions soften, about 7 minutes.

2. Add corn mixture to blender along with stock and milk and blend until smooth (add more liquid if mixture is too thick). Return mixture to pot and bring back to a boil. Stir in sour cream and season soup with salt and pepper.

3. Plate soup and top with a dollop of sour cream, bacon and remaining spring onion. Enjoy!


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