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Creamed Corn Soup with Chili Ricotta

cream of corn soupI may be forced into eating soups due to my broken jaw situation. But I am not going to let that stop me from enjoying the best of the summer season.

And, of course, sweet summer corn is among the best of the best of the summer season.

So it did not take a lot of effort on my part to decide to do a summer corn soup. A Creamed Corn Soup with Chili Ricotta.

This corn soup is very corn-centric too. I have made every effort I could to keep the corn front and center here. So the flavors I have chosen to accentuate the corn are exactly that— accents. Accents of flavor.

Cream, chili powder, milky sweet ricotta and just a bit of lime. Plus, all three of these companions are handled with a very light touch. So it’s the corn you taste and the corn you remember.

As well as I believe these companion ingredients have been chosen, the primary credit for keeping this corn soup super corny goes to the preparation.

Corn Kernels removed from cobI have gone to a lot of trouble writing the recipe in such a way as to show you how to cook the corn, with out over-cooking the corn. Over-cooked corn loses its sweet nature because too much heat turns those sugars into starches.

This may seem like a small detail, but in cooking it is often the small details that make the big differences.

Serves 4 as first coarse or soup coarse 2 as main coarse

1/2‑cup whole milk ricotta
3/4‑teaspoon chili powder
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1‑teaspoon sugar
1‑teaspoon coarse salt
1/4‑teaspoon white pepper
chili powder and ricotta cheese4 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 small onion, peeled and diced
2 cups fresh corn kernels (about 4 ears)
1‑cup heavy cream
1‑cup water
1 lime

Put the ricotta cheese into a fine meshed strainer that has been lined with a double layer of paper towels and let it “drain” about 1 hour. Then add 1/2‑teaspoon chili powder to a small bowl and put the ricotta into the same bowl. Mix well. Then refrigerate at least one hour and up to over night.

In another small bowl add the flour, sugar, salt, remaining 1/4‑teaspoon chili powder and white pepper. Using a fork stir the mixture together.
flour and spices for roux
Melt two tablespoons of butter in a small saucepan set over medium heat. Add the flour mixture and whisk it until a paste forms. Taste the mixture to be sure the “floury” taste has cooked away. Set aside.

In a medium-sized saucepan or small Dutch oven set over medium heat melt the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter.  Add the diced onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until tender and translucent. About 4–5 minutes. Do not brown the onions.

Add the corn to the onions and stir them to coat them well with the butter. Cook the mixture, stirring the whole time, about 2 minutes. Do not overcook the corn. 2 minutes is plenty. The soup will cook more later. Turn the heat off and remove the pan from the burner. Add the cream and mix well. Let the mixture infuse for at least a half an hour and up to 2 hours. You want the cream to take on the essence of thecorn soup corn with out cooking the corn to death.

When you are ready to continue taste the cream. It should indeed have a corn taste. Adjust the seasoning at this time if necessary with a little more salt and possibly some white pepper. Be careful with the salt, as we will be brightening the flavors later with lime. So if the mixture seems a bit heavy in the mouth from the cream but well seasoned you have the balance correct.

Scrape the flour and butter mixture (roux) into the pan with the creamed corn. Add 1 cup of water to the pan.

Using an immersion blender. Puree the soup to your desired consistency. There is no right answer here. It can be as smooth or as rustic as you like. But I think it is important to puree the soup before you finish cooking to assure that you do not overcook the corn and loose it’s sweet delicate taste.

Just before serving taste the soup one more time and make any final adjustments. Keeping in mind that the lime is still to follow.

fresh summer cornThen gently heat the soup over medium heat until warm. Do not let the soup boil. This could cause the cream to curdle and it will surely overcook the corn.

Cut the lime in half and squeeze 1/2 of it into the soup, stirring it in as you work. Cut the remaining half of lime into 4 wedges.

Serve the soup with a dollop of the of chili ricotta cheese served on top or added to the bowl before the soup is ladled in.

The soup may be served warm or cold. With lime wedges on the side.

SERIOUS FUN FOOD

Greg Henry

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