I tried a recipe like this from Gourmet but made significant changes to this summertime treat that enhance the outcome of the soup. Smoking the corn in this recipe really adds a whole new depth of flavor. The starch from the corn cobs adds a silky texture to the broth. The puréed soup makes a hearty meal when served hot, but is perfect when chilled during the summer and served as a light, early course in a dinner featuring grilled or smoked meat. Leaving the jalapeño seeds in the soup will give it a kick, but I found that too much heat overwhelms the flavors of the other vegetables. This soup will serve 6 easily in bowls and 10 in cups.
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Substitute one Vidalia onion for the shallots if in season for added sweetness.
Smoked Corn and Crookneck Squash Soup
- 4 ears corn
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- Cherry wood chips for smoking
- 2 pounds yellow crookneck squash
- 6 large shallots or one large sweet onion
- 4 large garlic cloves
- 1/2 fresh jalapeño chile (seeds removed)
- 2 tablespoon olive oil
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
- 4 cups water or vegetable stock
- Kosher Salt to taste
- Fresh cilantro leaves
- 6-10 tsp sour cream
- 1/2 fresh jalapeño, minced, seeds removed
- Reserved corn kernels
- Shuck ears of corn. Brush kernels with olive oil on all sides. Place in a Camerons smoker on medium heat with cherry wood chips for 20 minutes.
- While the corn smokes, slice shallots, garlic, jalapeños and squash. Use gloves when handling the jalapeño pepper. Heat olive oil in a large sturdy pot (Le Creuset or Lodge enameled cast iron) and add all ingredients except the water or stock. Stir the cumin into the vegetables until coated in oil and spice. Cover the pot with a lid for 10 minutes. Remove lid to stir during this period until squash has softened. Remove from heat.
- When the corn is smoked and cooled enough to handle, cut the kernels from the ears and set aside. Cut each cob in half and place in the pot with other vegetables.
- Add water or stock to the pot and bring to a boil. Reduce heat, stir and allow to simmer for 20 minutes. In the last few minutes, stir in all of the corn kernels except 1/3 cup.
- Remove and discard all cobs. Purée the soup in batches until smooth. Return to pot and add salt to bring out the flavor of the squash, corn, cumin and pepper. Chill in the refrigerator for 2 hours.
- Mince remaining half of jalapeño pepper and mix together with reserved kernels.
- When ready to serve, ladle soup into cups or bowls. Place individual leaves of cilantro in a flower pattern on the surface of the soup radiating from the center. Place a teaspoon dollop of sour cream at the center of the cilantro leaves. Sprinkle corn kernels and jalapeño on top and serve immediately.