Central Virginia Organic Gardener

"And 'tis my faith that every flower enjoys the air it breathes." - William Wordsworth, 1798

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Recipe: Tomato Corn Soup

Above: the finished soup

Above: vegetable stock before simmering

It is getting on to the end of fresh sweet corn season, so now is the time time for making soups that include corn.  You can use frozen corn (and there is some decent frozen, sweet corn out there), but fresh is best.  You can make this soup with water or stock. I am a vegetarian, so I make a stock of sweet corn cobs (all corn shaved off), onions, mushroom stems, carrots and whatever else I have to hand (parsley, basil, celery, zucchini ends- no brassicas or beets though, except for borscht).  I simmer for about 45 minutes and keep it around all week or freeze it.  Beef or chicken stock would be frankly richer, but I am happy with my veggie stocks (note: roasted or caramelized veggies make more deeply flavored stock).

So, here is what I do:
Make a quart the stock with odds and ends of veggies as above, or buy it.
2 T butter or olive oil
1 onion, diced
1 package baby 'bella or white button mushrooms.
1-2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 shredded or diced zucchini or other summer squash
3 shredded carrots
1 bay leaf
1 t marjoram
1 handful fresh basil, chopped
1 quart homemade tomato juice, or commercial tomato juice or V-8, thinned with 1 c water
2 c. stock
3 ears corn, freshly cut off the cob.
1 cup cous cous (white, whole grain, cooked according to package directions)

Cook and set aside the cous cous.  Melt the butter in the pan or pans (see next sentence). Saute onions and mushrooms separately, either one after the other in the same pan or in two pans at the same time, with the crushed garlic.  Please, let both cook separately, on medium heat for long enough so they caramelize and not steam (cooking together will crowd the pan and steam them so they will not develop a fill, deep, umami flavor and the mushrooms will be rubbery).  I saute them for at least 15 minutes. Whey they are caramelized, combine them in one heavy-bottomed stock pot or Dutch oven, add herbs, and saute for 5 minutes. Add zucchini and carrots. Saute, stirring occasionally,  for 20 minutes, until vegetables are softened. Add tomato juice/V-8 and stock.  Bring to a light, bubbling boil. Test the vegetables.  If they are almost done to your liking, add the corn, simmer and serve in 10 minutes.

Scoop a generous 1/2 cup of cous cous into the side of a bowl (can use rice, pasta, other grains or lentils instead).  Ladle in the hot soup.  Serve with bread !!!
(optional: you can change the seasoning family to more of a Tex-Mex taste with adding cumin, ground chilies and smoked paprika or chipotle powder to the sauteing onions, or a curry mix for Indian flavors).
 Happy fall eating!  Get out and harvest those remaining veggies!

No comments: