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Sunday, September 4, 2011

Corn Soup - French Fridays with Dorie

I don't really like corn soup that much. I never order it at a restaurant and I've made it only rarely. But this ... this is something else entirely. It's velvety smooth, but still has some crunch, and the bacon, creme fraiche, and green onions give it smoky, tangy, and luscious counterpoints. I would put this in a different category than plain old corn soup.

And it's easy, too. Less than an hour from start to finish, and if you match it with sliced fresh tomatoes and good bread, you have a lovely meal with almost no trouble.

Ignore helpful hints at your peril! Dorie says to slice the corn off the cob into a deep bowl. I wasn't going to bother getting another bowl dirty, so I started to slice the corn directly onto the cutting board. After one pass with my knife, I had about two kernels on my cutting board and several dozen strewn on the floor. The bowl worked better.

The naked corncobs are heated with some milk. I like that we use the corncobs instead of throwing them away. It seems very thrifty and French.

While the corncobs are steeping, you soften some diced onions, and then add celery, carrots, garlic, and the corn.

Were it not for the bacon that's one of the toppings, it would be healthily vegetarian. On the other hand, it wouldn't have bacon.

This is Nueske's bacon. Everyone, including the New York Times, loves Nueske's bacon, made right here in the hinterlands. If you cut the bacon in small enough pieces, you can get a bit in almost every bite.

Slice a few small scallions and add to the bacon. This, along with cayenne pepper and creme fraiche, will be added to the soup. Dorie recommends piment d'espelette, which you can order from Zingerman's, when they're not sold out, or from, which has 4 or 5 different brands. The people who wrote comments about this ground pepper were either crazy about it or thought it was tasteless. I used cayenne, which was definitely not tasteless.

I wish I had bought an immersion blender about 30 years ago. I hated spooning hot soups into the food processor. No matter how small I made the batches, I always got sprays of soup on the counter. And I usually burned myself too. Not so with the immersion blender. It's not just another useless kitchen gadget (and I have plenty of those, too).

Maybe my general good feelings over the immersion blender colored my feelings about this soup. Maybe the fact that we ate it on the back porch on a perfect late summer night did too. But I think maybe I liked it so much just because it was very, very good.


  1. this looks so delicious and perfect for summer dinners on the back porch! i'd better dust off dorie's book and make a batch.

  2. I agree with you on using a bowl to cut the corn, and also, I need to
    get an immersion blender. Yours looks so creamy and smooth, and
    with the delicious looking bread and tomato, it makes for a nice meal.
    Tricia and I both enjoyed this and we will be making it again. Your
    photos are lovely.

  3. ECL,
    Yes, you should, and I never thought I'd be a corn soup booster.

    When I put the immersion blender on my wish list, I was afraid it would go the way of the peanut butter maker and the yogurt maker, but it really is quite useful.

  4. Agreed completely on the immersion blender. Your bacon looks great!

  5. Immersion blenders are a wonder. I'm so happy I was given one as a gift a number of years ago.