Every time I ask if there’s more corn out there in the garden, the answer is, yes, there’s still some we can use or take to someone. Can’t believe how a week of rain on top of a hot dry summer plumped and sweetened it. Still seems like a miracle to me — the only time we had homegrown sweet corn when I was a kid was when we went to New Jersey. Don’t have any idea why we didn’t grow it in Pennsylvania.
I’m so glad I tried it while we still have corn (and put off the tomato soup for later since the tomatoes will last until frost). The combination of corn and sweet red pepper sauce is transcendent. The apple juice adds a whisper of tangy sweetness.
By itself, the corn is sweet and, let’s face it, eventually a little bland. But adding the peppers, hot or sweet, is genius. And pepper sauce makes it a prettier dish since our Silver Queen corn is, at best, ivory-colored.
I cut kernels from 16 ears of Silver Queen which should have been about 2 pounds of kernels. I think it was more like 3, but that was OK. I simmered the cobs in 2 cups of 2% milk, then added 1 more cup of milk to that after I’d removed cobs. And once again, I’m reminded that an immersible blender is one of the most important kitchen tools for cooking out of the garden. (And a computer that would insert photos into blog posts would be handy as well!)
Cream of corn soup with red pepper sauce
2 pounds fresh or frozen sweet corn kernels
4 tablespoons butter, olive oil or a mix
2 cups milk (plus more for thinning, optional)
1/4 cup cider or apple juice
1/2 teaspoon salt
Sweet bell pepper sauce or hot red pepper oil (recipes follow)
Cut kernels off cobs. For extra flavor, simmer stripped cobs in milk. (If you’re using frozen corn, defrost and drain.) Dice onion.
In soup pot heat butter and/or olive oil and saute onion until quite soft. Add corn to onion and saute until it warms and begins to soften.
Add milk, cider and salt to onions and corn. Cook until it simmers (do not boil). Season with cayenne to taste (I used 1/8 teaspoon.) Whiz soup in food processor/with immersable blender. If soup’s too thick, thin it with more milk or optional cream or vegetable stock. Dribble pepper sauce or oil on soup and swirl with knife blade. Makes 8 moderately- sized servings.
Sweet pepper sauce
Seed and slice a sweet red pepper and saute it in olive oil until very soft. Whiz in food processor/with immersible blender until smooth.
Hot pepper oil
Dice and gently saute a hot red pepper in olive oil until it’s soft but not brown. Let it sit in oil for at least 1 hour. Strain and use the oil only.