We’re smack dab in the middle of corn* season in much of the country, including where I live in New York. So I thought I’d take advantage of it. Even though I love a good bowl of corn chowder, I really don’t want a steamy serving of it when it’s still so summery hot outside. That’s where this chilled corn soup comes in. It’s rich in flavor from the “naked” grilling of the corn, a hint of “heat” from jalapeño, and a generous pinch of earthy cumin. It provides sweet, smoky, and refreshing goodness in every spoonful!
Calories saved: 270
Why it’s better for you? The extra creaminess is from beans, not half-n-half or cream
- 6 large or 8 medium ears organic sweet corn*, shucked
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
- 1 large Vidalia or other sweet onion, chopped
- 2 large garlic cloves, finely chopped
- 1/2 cup canned, drained cannellini or other white beans**
- Juice of 1/2 lime (1 tablespoon), or to taste
- 1 1/4 teaspoons sea salt, or to taste
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1 jalapeño pepper, with seeds, quartered lengthwise
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro leaves
- Prepare an outdoor or indoor grill. Brush the corn with 1 tablespoon of the oil. Grill over direct medium-high heat until the corn is gently caramelized and cooked through, about 10 minutes, rotating occasionally. Remove to a cutting board. When cool enough to handle, cut the kernels from the cobs. (Makes about 4 cups kernels.) Set aside the kernels and cobs.
- Heat the remaining 1 tablespoon oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the onion and sauté until softened, about 8 minutes. Add the garlic and sauté until fragrant, about 1 minute. Stir in the corn, white beans, lime juice, salt, pepper, and cumin. Then add 3 cups cold water, one of the reserved corn cobs, and the quartered jalapeño and bring to boil over high heat. Reduce heat to low and simmer, covered, until the corn, onion, and jalapeño are fully softened, about 22 to 25 minutes. Remove from the heat.
- Remove and set aside the jalapeño. Remove the corn cob; compost (discard) all corn cobs. In batches, puree the soup well in a blender until smooth using the hot fill line as a guide. Transfer the soup to a pitcher. Chill the soup at least 4 hours or overnight. If desired, mince the jalapeño and chill.
- Taste, adjust seasoning, then ladle the chilled soup into small bowls or short martini glasses. Garnish with the cilantro and, if desired, minced jalapeño, and serve.
Per serving: 140 calories, 4.5g total fat, 0.5g saturated fat, 0g trans fat, 0mg cholesterol, 420mg sodium, 23g total carbohydrate, 4g dietary fiber, 5g sugars, 4g protein
*When possible, choose certified organic corn to be sure it’s non-GMO. If you can’t find fresh organic corn-on-the-cob, use 4 cups of thawed frozen organic sweet corn for this recipe. You can caramelize it by tossing with grapeseed oil then stir-frying in batches over high heat.
**Toss the remaining white beans onto a salad or use in another recipe as desired.
The “Before” Recipe
Inspired by: sweet corn chowder
Per serving (when recipe serves 8): 410 calories, 24g total fat, 12g saturated fat, 0.5g trans fat, 50mg cholesterol, 800mg sodium, 43g total carbohydrate, 4g dietary fiber, 7g sugars, 10g protein
- For depth of flavor, added smokiness, and enhanced sweetness, grill corn for recipes instead of boil or steam
- To let the full essence of the corn be the highlight in a soup, it can be tastier to use water, corn cob(s), and plenty of flavorful ingredients to basically create a corn stock during the soup preparation rather than use a pre-made vegetable stock
- Instead of relying on saturated fat-laden cream or half-n-half for creaminess in soups, add white beans to the soup when simmering, then puree
- Go for a bit of “heat” to add an extra element of taste by simmering the soup with jalapeño
- Balance taste with a splash of a matching acid, such as fresh lime juice in this corn soup
- Don’t get carried away with salt, but don’t forget the salt … it’s a key taste element to soup