While checking out some foodie blogs the other day, I ran across this tempting recipe for soup. Quick preparations and handy ingredients prompted me to make this yesterday for lunch and I’m here to tell you that it was well worth the effort.
It is a timely soup for us now; the end of summer approaches and the local farm markets are offering the bounty of nature. We have oodles of tomatoes, peppers of all colors, and more squash than we can handle. The corn has been great and if you’re lucky enough to have a few ears on hand (or a can of corn in the pantry) give this a try. It’s from “locallemons.com” – that’s local lemons. My apologies to the “locallemons.com” people for altering their recipe to suit my needs and whims.
Quick and Tasty Summer in a Bowl
3 ears of corn
2 pounds of tomatoes (you can use canned if necessary)
2 1/2 T. roasted garlic (or just use raw garlic, minced)
1 red onion, peeled and chopped
2 poblano peppers
2 jalapeno peppers (I used crushed red pepper flakes about 1/4 teaspoon instead of jalapenos)
1/4 c. chopped cilantro
2 T. butter or oil (I used 1 T. of each)
1 avocado, sliced
1 c. water or chicken broth, optional, to dilute
1/2 fresh lime, juiced
Now, here are my notes. First of all, it makes a small amount, about enough for 3 large-ish servings. If you’re feeding a crowd or aiming for leftovers, you’ll have to double or triple the recipe.
Second of all, be sure to read it all first. You must roast the peppers, first in order to skin them and render them a little tender. This is easy if you have a gas stove or grill but takes a little longer with an electric broiler unless you have one that gets blazing hot in no time flat. I don’t. But anyway, it should be no problem to get the peppers roasting while you prepare everything else.
Thirdly, you need to roast garlic and have 2 1/2 tablespoons available. I didn’t have time to do that; I was starting this at nearly 11:00 and wanted to eat at noon. No time for garlic to roast. I improvised by sauteing the garlic with the onions at the beginning. I imagine that roasted garlic would give its own unique flavor to the dish, but I didn’t miss it. Next, I added about a cup of chicken broth with the tomatoes. Why? I don’t know. It just seemed like the thing to do. Lastly, the recipe calls for jalapenos, which I didn’t have on hand. I used a sprinkling of crushed red pepper to give the soup some added heat. Jalapenos, of course, add flavor as well, so I had to go without that. I found that the poblanos leant more that enough peppery flavor, but if jalapenos float your boat, go for it.
I guess this demonstrates my philosophy of not letting a missing ingredient get in the way of trying a new recipe. There are exceptions, of course. Baking usually requires strict adherence to the ratios of ingredients, if not the exact amounts. But to let the absence of shallots keep me from making a sauce when I have scallions would be a shame. I recognize the difference between the two and am usually able to reconcile the taste discrepancies. In this case, fresh corn would be perfect, but canned or frozen corn would hardly be taboo. In fact, I doubt if anyone could tell the difference in this soup, as rich and flavorful as it is. The end of the sermon.
1. Roast the poblano and jalapeno peppers under the broiler or over a grill until the skins are black and blistery. Let them cool for a while until you can handle them and slip off the skins,, remove the seeds and white veins and give them a rough chop.
2. Peel the tomatoes* and break them up with your hands into a bowl. (If using canned tomatoes, save the juice.)
3. Melt the butter in a large pot over medium heat. Cook and stir the onions until soft and add the raw garlic, if using raw, and cook another minute or two without browning the garlic. Add the tomatoes and continue to cook on medium heat. Now add the crushed red pepper flakes if you are using that instead of jalapenos.
4. Mash up the peppers in a mortar and pestle, a small food processor, or with a fork or other mashing type device until they somewhat come apart. We don’t want puree, here, folks, just a further breaking down of the cell walls. Scrape all this peppery goodness into the cooking pot.
5. Next crush the corn a tad and add the broken kernels and the corn juice into the pot as well.
6. Stir in the roasted garlic, if using, and add a little sea salt to taste.
7. Cook all this for 10 to 20 minutes until it reaches the consistency you like. You can add a little water or chicken broth to dilute it a bit if it gets too thick.
8. Sprinkle with cilantro and serve with a slice or two of avocado and a little drizzle of lime juice.
We had toasted bread and some cheese with this for our lunch and decided this recipe is a keeper. Give it a try. It just tastes like summer in a bowl.