Chicken corn soup isn’t the only option

Julie Falsetti
For The York Dispatch

In York County, any soup involving corn means just one thing: chicken corn soup.

For late summer, it is the canonical dish at church suppers and firehouse fundraisers. But let’s face it, there is a reason why people go outside the home for this traditional soup. It’s a lot of work.

I remember my mother standing over a chicken carcass picking off the meat. Then there was cutting the corn off the cob and chopping vegetables. The process took a couple of hours. The finished product was delicious, and we ate it for many subsequent meals.

If you still yearn to use the summer bounty of fresh sweet corn, there is an alternative, though perhaps a radical one. Mexican corn chowder is a zesty soup, and like revenge, best served cold.

Because the principal ingredient is corn, canned or frozen will not do. Chopped fresh red and green peppers add visual appeal and a satisfying crunch.

The soup gets it punch from canned chipotles in adobo. If you made the potato tacos from a few weeks ago, you might still have some in your refrigerator. They keep for months.

Because Mexican corn soup is meatless, the richness is provided by the buttermilk and cream.

After boiling the cobs, you will end up with more corn stock than needed. You can freeze the stock, and when making the soup again, you can skip the boiling of the cobs. Alternatively, you can use the stock in other dishes.

Mexican Corn Chowder

8 ears corn, shucked, kernels cut from the cob, cobs reserved

8 cups water

2 cloves garlic, peeled and minced

1 chipotle chile in adobo with 1/2 teaspoon sauce

2 tablespoons sugar

21/2 teaspoons salt

1 each red and green bell pepper, seeded and cubed

1 cup buttermilk

1 cup heavy cream

1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro

1 lime

1/2 cup chopped scallions for garnish

Combine the corn cobs and water in a large soup pot. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat, partially cover and simmer 30 minutes.

Remove the cobs and discard. Reserve 2 cups of the stock and set aside.

Cook the corn kernels in rapidly boiling water for 5 minutes. Drain and transfer all but 2 cups of the corn to a blender or food processor.

Add the corn stock, garlic, chipotle in adobo with sauce, sugar and salt, and puree until smooth.

Transfer the mixture to a large bowl and stir in the remaining corn, red and green peppers, buttermilk, cream and cilantro. Chill for at least an hour before serving.

To serve, ladle soup into bowls and top with chopped scallions and a squirt of lime juice.

— Julie Falsetti, a York native, comes from a long line of good cooks. Her column, From Scratch, runs twice monthly in The York Dispatch food section.