Well it’s winter in Tel Aviv, which is to say that it’s a little chilly in the mornings and evenings and it rains briefly every couple of days. The coldest temperatures we’ve seen have been 45ºF and almost no one has central heating. We use a little space heater when the apartment feels too cold and our soup cravings are mainly limited to the evening hours. Since we are not shoveling snow or dealing with frigid temperatures, my desire for stews is somewhat curbed and I was trying to think of a hearty soup that didn’t feel too filling for the mediterranean rainy season, but would still warm us when the evening air turned cool. A creamy corn soup seemed like the obvious answer, and I headed out to the shuk on Thursday without a thought as to whether it is actually corn season here in Israel. Apparently it is not. I was only able to find corn at one of the produce sellers in the entire market, and my stubborn determination to satisfy this sudden craving left me 18 shekels poorer (about a dollar an ear; not cheap). Luckily the soup turned out delicious, and I will be sure to make this recipe again and again, once corn is back at the market in abundance.
Ari’s Corn Soup
In an effort to maximize the corn-flavor and really get the most out of each cob, I decided to simmer the corn cobs in a broth for about 45 minutes and use that as the soup’s base. Adding the whole kernels to the final product also boost flavor and give the soup texture and body. This one is a keeper.
5 ears corn, shucked, corn kernels sliced off of husk and set aside
4 cups milk/soy/almond/rice milk etc
water or vegetable broth
2 onions, chopped
4 carrots, chopped
2 Tbs chopped fresh rosemary
1 tbs chopped fresh thyme
3-4 celery stalks, leaves included, chopped
salt and pepper
vegetable bouillon/soup powder, to tast (if you are not using vegetable broth)
cilantro for garnish (optional)
Make the creamy corn stock:
Break the corn cobs in half and slice the kernels off the husks and set aside. Place the husks in a large pot and pour in milk, adding water or vegetable broth to cover. Being to boil (being careful not to let the mixture boil over) and then turn down and simmer on low for 30-60 minutes.
Mean while chop up the onions, carrots, herbs and celery. Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a saute pan over medium heat and add the onions and carrots, stirring occasionally until onions are soft and beginning to turn transluscent. Add the herbs, salt and pepper and saute a few minute longer, then toss in the celery.
Remove the corn husks from the milk broth and discard them. Add a couple spoonfuls of soup powder (if you did not use broth) and the sauteed veggies. Bring to a boil again briefly, then add the corn kernels and simmer for 10-15 minutes. Taste and adjust seasoning if necessary. Serve with chopped cilantro.