Friday, September 20, 2013

Elvy's End-of-Harvest Soup

The sudden cold snap we’ve been having got me to thinking about warm soup, so I looked in my refrigerator and found six ears of old corn, and a pile of cherry tomatoes from the garden, beginning to wrinkle and get tough. What to do? Make soup, of course. 
·         Chicken broth, or two cups of homemade
·         Tomato Paste, one small can
·         Bacon, four slices
·         Corn, fresh,  and shucked * (six ears) or frozen (two large bags, three small)
·         Unequal amounts of sugar and vinegar (I used one tablespoon of cider vinegar, and two tablespoons of brown sugar)
·         Black pepper to taste, salt if needed
(Depending on what you like, all the rest is optional)
·         Tomatoes (any kind, Cherry – halved, Roma or regular, cut up)
·         Fresh Basil is nice, but Cilantro from the grocery would be fine too, or, now that I think about it, both.
·         Diced Onion
·         Smoked Paprika, garlic powder, onion powder, to taste. I used a teaspoon of each.
·         Zucchini or Squash, diced
·         Oregano and Marjoram (dried), two teaspoons each
·         Something for heat, I used ground Chipotle peppers
Here’s what you do:
Cook bacon, and remove from pan to drain on paper towels. In fat remaining, cook onion (or if you don’t like onion, try green peppers, scallions, or garlic. If using garlic, only sauté for less than a minute).
While bacon is cooking, mix one, small, can of tomato paste with a box of chicken broth (like you get at the grocery), or use three cups of homemade, if you’ve got it, in a stock Pot. Set pan on medium heat and begin the soup.
Remove cooked onion and add to pan (the onions should be beginning to brown). If using fresh corn, slice kernels from cob* and reserve, then throw the cobs in the pot (yes, you heard this right).
You can now wash your bacon pan, everything else goes in the stock pot, which you cover, and cook the cobs for half an hour. Turn down the heat if it boils too vigorously.
If using frozen corn, take a third of it, thaw, mix with ¼ cup of milk and process in a food processor or blender.
If using fresh (which I highly encourage), remove cobs from pot, let cool enough to handle, and scrape them with a serrated knife, into the pot. All the insides of kernels left on the cob will be mush, and help thicken the soup,  (Which is why, if using frozen, you have to make some mush in the blender) and the cobs add a deeper corn flavor to the broth.
Now, throw in all your other ingredients in the pot, except for basil, cilantro, bacon and reserved corn,  cover and cook for another half-hour, or so, on med-low. You want this concoction to simmer, and cook all the vegetables. Do not hesitate to add water, or more chicken broth, if it appears too thick. You DON’T want the bottom to burn.  Put in reserved corn, cook another ten minutes, and adjust seasonings.
Right before serving, stir in chopped up bacon pieces, cilantro and/or basil.
This makes great as leftovers, if there's any left, that is.
Happy Early Fall everyone!
    *A great way to get the kernels off the corn is to use a serrated knife and put the shucked ear of corn in a Bundt cake pan, or any type of cake pan with high sides and a hole in the center.  Stick that ear of corn, right in the center hole, and scrape corn into the pan, no mess, no corn scattered all over. I wish I could remember, and give credit to whoever told me about this.  


Love on a Half Shell
A great book, with some great recipes

A shell is a hard object—tough. It can withstand the ocean’s pounding for long stretches of time.
A shell is also cupped. It can hold tender things, protect them and allow them to grow.
Meet Rae Greene, a thirty-something woman who has made a few mistakes and doesn’t flinch from acknowledging them. She’s a tough cookie with a good heart, and she’s just been handed her sister’s kids.
Three parts love, two parts grit…the perfect recipe to save a family.


  1. Another delicious recipe, though I won't digress into my "thing" about loose corn. Great way to celebrate the end of the harvest and a wonderful soup for the cooling weather. I LOVE the tip about getting the corn off the cob, though I did have to sit and think about it for a moment. I envisioned corn kernels leaping off the cob and festooning my counters, cabinets, and ME until I re-read the "high sides" hint. Neat! Off to share!

  2. Thanks there Denise. I probably should have said, Angel Food Cake Pan, as a better description than Bundt, but couldn't think of the term when I was writing. And now I have to ask, what is your thing about loose corn?

  3. I'm not asking about the loose corn thing! :) But what a yummy recipe! Can't wait to try it.

  4. Yes, loose-corn-things seem quite intriguing right about now! And it does sound delicious! Did you just sort of make up the recipe on the fly???

  5. Yes Leah, it's all mine. I love to cook like that, see what I've got hanging around and come up with something. It's really amazing to me, how a batch of stuff (like old vegetables) can be transformed into something wonderful.