Roasted Corn and Ancho Chile Soup
I don’t know what came over me, but when I was in the Casino grocery store yesterday, Thanksgiving Day, I was overcome with the urge to do something with corn. That’s right, corn, which, by the way, isn’t something that the French eat much of at all, except out of the can and sprinkled on salads occasionally, which I don’t understand, but then again, they don’t eat peanut butter, so there you are.
My grandmother Mary always made creamed corn casserole for Thanksgiving, and best I can remember, there were Ritz crackers crunched up on top of this delicacy, that was, as you might expect, always baked in a round Pyrex dish.
So in honor of my Thanksgivings past, and perhaps those of my future, too, I found myself paying nearly 5 euros (!) for two ears of corn, in hopes of making a soup that I’d dreamed up recently, with roasted corn and ancho chiles, the roasted version of the oh-so-lovely poblano.
I turned on the oven to high, about 300 C, and roasted the corn, turning the ears every now and then to make sure they cooked evenly.
Almost as lovely if I’d done them on a grill, which I’m not allowed to have here, but don’t get me started …something about how the scent of grilling meat is so offensive to my Paris neighbors that grills are not allowed. (Wow, it’s good thing they don’t mind all of that yummy secondhand smoke on the sidewalks and the equally delicious car exhaust from the nonstop gridlocked traffic on the teensy little streets.)
So, off with the kernels and into the pot, I say!
Wait. First I put some olive oil into the pot, along with some onions (a small one) and a couple of cloves of garlic, too.
Now, the corn.
I thought that a toasted ancho chile would be nice. So I just split a dried chile, took out the seeds and stem, and pressed it down on my little crepe pan-comal over medium high heat until the inside of the chile turned a tobacco brown. This took about 3 minutes.
Now, into a bowl, with some very hot water for 15 minutes.
I poured out all but about two tablespoons of the water, and with the hand blender, pureed the chile.
I added the chile puree to the pot with the onion, garlic and corn, along with about 4 cups of chicken stock, about a teaspoon of cumin, some sea salt, and let this cook for about 20 minutes on medium-low heat.
I also added a secret ingredient: two tablespoons of tequila.
I blended the soup with the hand blender, strained it, and put it back into the pot. Just for good measure, I added a touch of cream.
I served it with chopped cilantro and lime, which, as it turns out, was absolutely perfect.
It wasn’t creamed corn casserole, but it was creamed corn…soup.
So I called my mom, who was in the middle of baking pies (pecan and pumpkin) and watching the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade on television with my five-year-old niece, Landrie, to wish her a happy Thanksgiving, and among the chaos of supersized floats and Landrie-as-sous-chef, she’d forgotten to put the sugar in the pumpkin pie. We are all serious bakers in my family, and mom wasn’t happy about having to redo her pumpkin pie. I know how frustrating a ruined pie can be, but I wanted to tell her that it really didn’t matter – she was there, in Denton, with my niece, my nephew, my brother and my sister-in-law, and they were together on Thanksgiving, just as it should be. I told her that I wished that I were there, too, because if I were, we’d just be laughing about that silly old sugar-free pie.