Can you say: “Oh My Goodness! Oh My Goodness! Have I died and gone to Heaven?” Yes, this is that good and then some. Delicate yet full of flavor. You definitely need to try this! You can serve this as the opening course for your Thanksgiving Holiday meal as it is a perfect Fall soup with all the luxurious corn flavor packed in this soup but it will be a hard act to follow.
What a killer soup this is! As you know, we have been wanting to do fall meals and soups because ’tis the season. It’s just been rather warm to get in the Fall mood. This weekend, however, we got another little cold snap. At the same time, we were at the market and there was an abundance of fresh corn on the cob. I couldn’t resist. I knew there was a soup in the making somewhere. I had been thinking about a corn chowder but we had already posted a couple of chowders and, to be honest, corn chowder is not one of my favorite soups. Then, as we were walking through the market I saw the crab was on sale. This was a no brainer. Everyone knows crab and corn go very well together so a crab and corn chowder seemed the way to go and where I was leaning. Then, while watching PBS, Nick Stellino came on with a silky corn and crab soup finished with a black truffle oil. It looked incredibly good so we decided to try it with some modification. First, we decided to fortify the corn flavor through the use of the corncobs. Most people forget about the corncob and throw it away but there is a tremendous amount of flavor in the cob. Next, we nixed the truffle oil as I am not overly fond of black truffles or black truffle oil. Baby Lady tried it with a white truffle oil and it’s a nice addition but I leave that up to you at your discretion. Fresh white truffles would be divine with this soup but try getting those in the US. We then increased the crab because we like crab and its delicate flavor would not overpower the corn but would form the perfect compliment. We also nixed the extra sugar because we were using a sweet winter corn that has enough natural sugar, as well as a little extra sherry. So we felt that no extra sugar was needed. Last, you guessed it, we gave it a little kick with the addition of jalapeño peppers (if you want a touch more heat add serrano chiles instead of the jalapeño). I mean stop and think about it. Jalapeños go with corn and crab. It, too, was a no brainer. It added just a touch of kick (Baby Lady says she didn’t even notice it) and is a nice addition to this velvety smooth, luscious soup. This will make a wonderful appetizer or lunch soup with a nice sandwich or you can have it as a main entree. As a main entree, it feeds 4. As an appetizer or lunch soup, it feeds 6 – 8, just adjust the amount of crab. Of course, you could double the batch because everyone is going to love this soup and you would hate not to have enough. ;)
- 4 Tbsp good olive oil
- 1/4 cup shallots, minced
- 3 ears fresh, sweet, winter corn on the cob
- 1/3 cup sherry
- 5 cups chicken stock
- 1/4 cup cream
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 2 Tbsp butter
- 2 Tbsp red bell pepper, minced
- 2 Tbsp jalapeno, minced
- 1 Tbsp chopped garlic chives, minced
- 1/2 lb king crab meat, cut into bite size chunks
- 1/2 lb lump crabmeat
- 1/3 cup brandy
To prepare the soup
Before we start, prep the corn by removing the kernels from the corncob. Because we want a very flavorful corn soup (the corn really is the star), you want every last drop of corn flavor you can get from the fresh corn. This includes the flavor in the corncob. Cut the cobs into thick pieces and place them in a large pot with the chicken stock.
Bring to a boil over high heat, then reduce heat to medium and let simmer for 30 – 45 minutes to extract the flavor out of the corncobs. If there is less than 4 cups of broth remaining, add enough water to bring it to 4 cups. This will provide you a beautiful base upon which to build your corn soup.
Once you have made your soup base, add the olive oil to a sauté pan over medium heat. When hot, add the shallots and sauté until tender, roughly 2 – 3 minutes.
Now, add the corn and continue to cook for 3 more minutes.
Add the sherry, and cook until the sherry is reduced to a glaze on the bottom of the pan, roughly 2 – 3 minutes.
Add the soup base, increase heat to high and bring the soup to a boil.
Cover the pan, reduce the heat to simmer, and cook for 30 minutes. Let the soup cool, then place in a blender and blend at its highest setting for 1 to 2 minutes depending upon your blender.
Strain and rub the puree through a fine mesh sieve to remove the pulp.
This is where a chinois comes in very handy. It really is an invaluable kitchen tool. A good chinois will come with a wooden, conically shaped plunger. This enables you to rub a pulpy puree like this through the chinois squeezing out every last drop of flavor from the pulpy, tough skin of the kernel. When you get toward the end you begin to roll the conical plunger around the chinois finishing the extraction of the flavor. When you are done you will see the pulp on the plunger, like thus.
Return the soup to medium heat and bring to a simmer. Add cream and cook for an additional 20 minutes, stirring occasionally (every 3 – 5 minutes or so) to keep the soup from burning. This is a puree and it will burn if left alone.
Adjust salt to taste. If not using the chiles, then add freshly ground WHITE pepper to taste, as well. White pepper is used because it blends better into the color of the soup AND it has a softer, more subtle flavor with some wine undertones. Inasmuch as I used unsalted stock, to my taste, roughly 1-1/2 tsp of salt was needed. A salted stock will take less, again, depending upon your palate.
To prepare the crabmeat
While the soup is cooking, prepare the crab. Start by melting the butter in a sauté pan over medium-high heat and adding the red pepper
Sauté the vegetables over medium-high heat until tender, roughly 1 – 2 minutes. Now, add the crabmeat.
Increase the heat to high, and cook for 1 – 2 minutes more to heat the crabmeat through. Carefully, add the brandy and toss to incorporate.
Cook for 1 more minute, remove from heat, cover and keep warm until ready to serve.
Place a 1-1/2 inch ring mold in the middle of a soup bowl. Spoon in the crabmeat
Ladle soup around ring mold
Remove ring mold, garnish with a sprig of parsley, serve & enjoy!