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Tuesday, July 31, 2018

Confetti Sweet Corn Soup with Baked Tortilla Strips

Should you find yourself wandering through life as a person who relishes soup year-round {as I do} or someone who is simply getting that "is it soup season yet?" itch this time of year, my Confetti Sweet Corn Soup may be right up your alley. It really is the perfect transitional soup for the lingering weeks of summer and the early days of autumn. Sweet corn is divine this time of year. And, this soup really celebrates all that we love about corn fresh from the garden or farmer's market.


The base of the soup is a simple medley of sautéed onion, red bell pepper and jalapeño {use as much or as little per your heat preference} that gets friendly in the pot with some dried oregano, crushed red pepper flakes and salt. From there, a little sprinkling of flour helps with thickening as some good-quality chicken {or veggie} stock joins the party.  Most of the corn kernels {once removed from the raw cobs} get added right in while some get whirled up in a blender or food processor with a touch of milk before being added into the soup.

One of my secrets is to toss in a few of the stripped corn cobs while the soup simmers. This little hack brings some intense corn flavor to the party. {Just carefully remove and discard after they've done their job.}

To finish, I like to top the soup with some baked tortilla strips that are made pretty easily from soft corn tortillas, non-stick spray and a little salt. This step is totally optional {you can even utilize store-bought tortilla chips as a topper}, but they are worth the few minutes of work.

Trust me.

One thing I'd like to note is that after testing this recipe four times in the past couple of weeks, I think I've come to the conclusion that the richness and sweetness {so-to-speak} level of the end result when making this recipe seems to really depend on how sweet and intense the corn is that is used. Obviously, we all know that sweet corn can vary in taste, sweetness and even tenderness. So, there can be variations in the end flavor profile {or "corniness"} each time this soup is made based on the batch of corn one uses.

Yields 4 - 6 servings.

Ingredients:

FOR THE SOUP -

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 small onion, peeled and finely diced
1/4 large red bell pepper, seeded and chopped
1/4 - 1/2 {depending on preference} jalapeño, seeded and finely diced
1/2 teaspoon Mexican oregano
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1 teaspoon Kosher salt
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
5 - 6 cups chicken or vegetable stock
11 - 12 ears corn, cleaned and kernels removed from cobs
3/4 cup milk
Black pepper, as desired

FOR THE TORTILLA STRIPS -

10 small soft corn tortillas
Non-stick spray
Kosher salt

Directions:

FOR SOUP -

In a large soup pot, sauté - while occasionally stirring - the onion, bell pepper and jalapeño in olive oil over medium heat for about 2 - 3 minutes.

Stir in oregano, red pepper flakes and salt.

Sprinkle in flour. Cook - while occasionally stirring - for another 2 - 3 minutes.

Carefully stir in stock - starting with 5 cups {reserve additional cup to use as needed}.

Add in all but a fourth of the corn kernels. Stir. Reduce heat as needed to keep soup at a low simmer.

Meanwhile, blend together remaining kernels with milk in a blender or food processor until just creamy. Transfer mixture into the soup.

NOTE:  If desired, 3 - 4 stripped cobs can be placed into the soup during the remaining cooking time for an extra flavor boost.  {Carefully remove prior to serving soup.}


Allow soup to simmer for about thirty minutes. If needed, the remaining cup of stock can be added.

Check and adjust seasoning prior to serving. Garnish soup with tortilla strips.


FOR TORTILLA STRIPS -

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cut tortillas into thin strips. Place on sheet pan. Spritz with non-stick spray. Sprinkle lightly with salt.

Bake for about 15 minutes - tossing strips occasionally for even crisping.



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