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.
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