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The most delicious sweet corn in the world is sold right off the two-lane road to my parents’ house in Northern Kentucky. The farmer sets up shop in the parking lot of the local Elk Lodge a few times a week, tempting passersby with the towering mound of freshly picked corn sitting in the back of his red pickup truck.
This farmer’s corn is the stuff summer is made of. It’s round, plump, juicy and ridiculously sweet. Just the thought of it makes me wish I was back home with my family, shucking corn for what I know would be a great Sunday summer dinner and enjoying what my dad lovingly calls “cocktail hour.” Sweet corn straight from the cob is a reminder of why we wait for summer to begin the other nine months of the year—because it’s a time we can let loose, slow down (or not), get outside and share the sun with those we love the most. And the end of the summer, like corn and tomatoes from the garden in August, is always the sweetest.
While I couldn’t get my hands on the corn from my parents’ local farmer, I did find a great 10-cobs-for-$1 deal at my favorite local produce shop, Stanley’s. With fall coming up, I’d been yearning for soup, and a sweet corn soup was the perfect vehicle to use up all that corn. I’m also growing four different kinds of peppers, so I decided to add those to the mix and make a Sweet and Spicy Corn Soup.
A quick puree of half the soup adds a nice creaminess to this dish. It’s mildly spicy, and the corn gives it a sweet crunch and a little texture. A splash of cream adds richness and helps to enhance its color. A dollop of crema suprema or sour cream gives this soup a slight tanginess, while the fresh cilantro brightens the flavors. The sweeter the corn, the sweeter and more delicious the soup. This Sweet and Spicy Corn Soup is truly summer in a bowl.
Sweet and Spicy Corn Soup
This soup is mildly spicy. For additional heat, leave in the peppers’ stems or simply add another jalapeno or Serrano to the mix. For a print copy of this recipe, click here.
½ stick (4 Tbs.) unsalted butter
4 c. sweet corn, cut fresh from about 5 corncobs
2 small red onions, diced
1 poblano pepper, roasted, peeled, stemmed, seeded and diced
2 sweet red peppers, diced
1 jalapeno, seeded, stemmed and minced
1 serrano, seeded, stemmed and minced
1 Tbs. ground cumin
1 Tbs. Mexican oregano
½ Tbs. chili powder
5 c. chicken stock, homemade if possible
¼ c. half-and-half
Mexican crema (crema suprema), for garnish
Cilantro, minced for garnish
Create soup base. Melt butter over medium-low heat in a large, heavy-bottomed soup pot. Add onion and sweat until soft, about 5-7 minutes. Add corn and peppers, season to taste with salt and pepper, and sauté for 5 minutes more. Add cumin, oregano, and chili powder, and sauté for 2-3 minutes more or until fragrant. Pour in chicken stock. Cover and simmer for 30-45 minutes, or until corn begins to soften.
*Puree, garnish and serve. Season soup with salt and pepper to taste. Remove soup from heat. Let cool 5 minutes. Transfer half of soup to blender, puree, and return to pot, or use a stick blender to puree half of soup. If serving immediately, stir in half-and-half. Ladle into soup bowls and garnish with a dollop of Mexican crema and a sprinkle of minced cilantro.
*If making ahead or freezing, follow directions only until the pureeing of the soup. Do not add half-and-half until right before service.