Friday, July 23, 2010

Creamy corn soup with truffles

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Creamy corn soup with truffles - photos by LentilBreakdown

I should have made more corn soup for Trufflepalooza. It was the first course to go out, and we served it in tiny three-ounce juice glasses from Ikea (90 glasses for $25, can you believe it?). We only filled the glasses half full - could have used shot glasses, really - and still the soup was gone in a flash. The stragglers, by which I mean anyone who showed up more than half an hour after the official start time, got none. And that's a shame, because this might have been the best dish at the party.

Most of the time corn soup is chunky, like a chowder. This was smooth and creamy because Lynne of Cook and Be Merry sieved the entire pot through the new chinois I purchased just for this recipe. She says I should have bought the conical wooden thing that rolls around inside the chinois - I thought a ladle would work fine, but the next time I make this I'll have to spring for the wooden tool. (Or maybe I'll start over and buy this Fox Run Three Piece Stainless Steel Chinois Set - the wooden thing is included.)

Anyway, creamy corn soup. It was like drinking warm corn milk. Three more reasons this soup turned out so well. First, amazing corn, which is why I would only make this soup in summer when you can find the best, sweetest white corn. Second, after I stripped the corn kernels from the cobs, I took the time to make a corn stock by simmering the stripped cobs in chicken broth. And third, I only cooked the corn kernels in the soup for a few minutes, just long enough to get them soft; this kept the taste fresh and clean.

And then, of course, there were the truffles. I think this soup would be delicious even without them. But with the addition of a few drops of truffle oil and a grating of fresh black summer truffle - transporting.

Creamy corn soup with truffles
  • 6 ears of corn, husked
  • 1 quart chicken stock
  • 2 Tbsp butter
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 2 cups milk
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1 tsp white truffle oil
  • salt and ground white pepper
  • 1 black summer truffle (optional)
  • Equipment: immersion blender, chinois (or fine-mesh strainer)
Strip the corn kernels from the cobs with a knife. I do this in a large bowl, holding the ear of corn vertically and cutting down with a large chef's knife, so the kernels fall into the bowl as I cut them off. Set the corn kernels aside, preferably in the refrigerator.

Make the corn stock by simmering the stripped cobs in the chicken stock - you'll want to break the cobs in half, probably, to fit them into the pot. Simmer them about half an hour, then remove the cobs from the stock.

In a large pot, melt the butter and saute the onions over medium heat just until they soften. Do not let them brown - you don't want the strong flavor of caramelized onion to overpower the corn. This is a very delicate soup. When the onion is soft, add the corn stock, milk, and corn kernels. Bring this just to a simmer; do not let it boil, or the milk will curdle. Simmer very, very gently for about 10 minutes.

Puree the soup in the pot with the immersion blender. Do an extra-good job here. Now place the chinois or fine-mesh strainer over a clean pot (yes, you'll have multiple pots to wash, sorry about that) and pour the soup in. You'll have to push the liquid through with a spoon, ladle or the special wooden chinois tool as you move the solids around inside the chinois. Continue until you have sieved all the soup. (Don't throw away the corn solids - you can add them to cornbread or savory pancakes.)

Add the cream to the smooth, strained soup, heat gently until steaming, and taste; it should taste like the liquid version of corn on the cob bathed in butter. Add the truffle oil, salt, and ground white pepper to taste. Again, do not let the soup boil. Serve with a grating of fresh black truffle on top.



Monet said...

You tempt me! Corn and truffles...sounds so good. I just love how wonderful corn is tasting right now. I just bought seven ears of corn, and will be making quite a few corn recipes this week!

Lentil Breakdown said...

I must admit, this was one of my very favorite of your dishes. It had such a sweet corn taste but was not too rich, although a little went a long way. I thought I tasted Gloria's farmer's market corn in there. Like you, I thought it didn't need the truffles to be divine.

Lentil Breakdown said...

This was one of my very favorite dishes too. The corn was so sweet, and I could taste that it was fresh from the farmer's market (Gloria's?). And the broth was delicate and not too rich, yet a little went a long way. Like you, I thought it didn't need the truffles to be divine.

marla {family fresh cooking} said...

This soup was wonderful & filled with corn flavor. I had no idea so much labor went into this.....a true labor of love & well worth it!! xo

Erika Kerekes said...

@Monet - I also love the corn right now, right this second. It will not be this good a month from now. Kind of sad thought.

@Lentil @Marla - thank you for the compliments. I'd never made a smooth corn soup before, so I had my fingers crossed. But it worked fine. More than fine!

Lynne @ CookandBeMerry said...

This corn soup was absolutely delicious. It was my favorite of all the truffle dishes. And I increased the diameter of my biceps by two inches pushing the soup through the chinois with that ladle. But it was worth it. Thank you, Erika, for the great Trufflepalooza 2010.

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