once upon a chef

Summer Corn Soup with Fresh Herbs


– 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil – 2 large yellow onions, roughly chopped – 2 medium carrots, peeled and sliced into ¼-inch rounds – 5 cloves garlic, smashed and peeled – 2 (26 oz) boxes Pomi chopped tomatoes or 2 (28 oz) cans crushed or diced tomatoes – 4 cups water – 1½ cups orange juice, preferably not from concentrate – ¼ cup sugar – 2½ teaspoons salt – 10 leaves fresh basil, plus more for garnishing soup – ⅓ cup heavy cream

With just a few simple ingredients – fresh corn on the cob, chicken broth, shallots, butter, and herbs – this corn soup has an intense corn flavor that tastes just like summer. It’s delicious as is but also easily adapted: substitute your favorite herbs, top it with fresh chopped tomatoes or red bell peppers, or swirl in some heavy cream to make it richer.

Step #1

To begin, remove the husks and silks from the corn and set one ear of corn aside. Use a knife to cut the kernels off of the remaining 5 cobs, then break the scraped cobs in half. Set aside.

Step #2

Melt the butter in a large pot over medium-low heat and add the shallots.

Step #3

Cook, stirring often, until soft and translucent, 8-10 minutes.

Step #4

Add the chicken stock, corn kernels, broken cobs, whole ear of corn, salt, and pepper to the pot.

Step #5

Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to medium-low and cook uncovered for 10 minutes.

Step #6

Use a handheld immersion blender to purée the soup until very smooth. Be patient; it takes a while.

Step #7

Place a fine mesh sieve over a large bowl and pass the soup through, using a back of a ladle to push the soup through in circular motions. Discard the fibers and bits of kernels in the sieve.

Step #7

Return the strained soup to a clean pot. It should have a creamy consistency. If it’s too thick, thin it with water or chicken stock; if it’s too thin, cook over medium heat until thickened.

Step #8

Use a knife to cut the cooked kernels off of the cooled whole cob, then add the kernels to the soup along with the herbs. Taste and adjust seasoning with salt and pepper (if necessary, you can add a bit of sugar to bring out the corn’s natural sweetness).

Step #9

Ladle the soup into bowls and garnish with tiny sprigs of fresh basil and thyme, if desired.