We were watching an episode of Iron Chef the other night, as we often do, and Chef Bobby Flay made a sauce for one of his dishes combining roasted corn with coconut. Inspired I took this idea and created a sweet and spicy soup made with fresh roasted corn poblano and jalapeno peppers and coconut milk. As we were working through the process we almost didn’t add the coconut milk, but a little side taste test adding a bit of coconut milk to a cup of the finished soup….wow!!! The flavor just popped, mellowing some of the pepper’s heat and giving it an undertone of Thai inspired sweet spiciness. Puree the soup until very smooth, but reserve some of the whole corn kernels for garnish with chopped cilantro. Serve with crusty bread for dipping.
Sweet and Spicy Roasted Corn Soup
4 ears fresh corn, shucked and cleaned
1 tablespoon grapeseed oil
1 tablespoon butter
1 yellow onion – chopped
2 carrots – chopped
2 stalks celery – chopped
4 cloves garlic – chopped
2 Poblano peppers – seared, seeds and ribs removed and chopped
1 jalapeno pepper – seared, seeds and ribs removed, chopped
2 teaspoons ground cumin
2 teaspoons coriander
1 1/2 tablespoon garam masala
Salt and Freshly ground black pepper
4 cups chicken or vegetable stock
1 can lite coconut milk
1 cup fat free or regular half and half, or cream
2 tablespoons chopped cilantro, plus more for garnish
1 tablespoon chopped chives, for garnish
Heat oven to 400 degrees. Wrap each ear of corn in aluminum foil after seasoning each with a bit of salt and pepper. Roast for at least 40 minutes. Meanwhile on an open flame or grill sear the poblano and jalapeno peppers until they blister, then remove stem, cut in half and remove the seeds and ribs then chop. In a large Dutch oven heat the oil and butter over medium heat, then add the onion, carrots and celery. Saute for 5-7 minutes to soften, stirring occasionally. Remove the corn from the foil and cut off the cob. Add most (reserving some for garnish) to the pot with the peppers and garlic. Add the dried spices and season generously with salt and pepper. Stir to combine and cook together for 5 minutes.
Add the chicken stock and bring to a boil. Add the cilantro then simmer for 15 minutes. With an immersion blender or food processor puree the soup until silky smooth. Add back to the pot and whisk in the coconut milk and half and half and bring back up to a simmer. Simmer until ready to serve. Adjust any final seasonings and ladle into big soup bowls. Top with cilantro, chives and a few kernels of corn.