Ah well, I am not going to make excuses or apologize. Today is my birthday, and I can do whatever I want. In fact, the older I get, the more I tend to do exactly what I please on any given day, don't you?
As for this soup ... when I read Dorie's recipe I was not exactly thrilled with the idea of steeping corn cobs in milk for a broth. Plus, she admitted that the soup itself was quite sweet and needed the smoky bacon or pancetta to balance it. Well, I don't particularly want sweet milky soup, thank-you-very-much.
That said, the idea of a creamy corn soup was tremendously appealing to me so I decided to make one using a velouté . I have discussed my love for velouté -based soups before, particularly in my roasted chestnut and butternut squash soup post. To recap: A velouté is actually one of the 5 mother sauces in classical French cooking, but when thinned it serves as the perfect base for a flavorful, velvety soup. I think sometimes people are intimidated to make one because it involves making a roux, but it's easy as pie, and so worth it for the complex flavors you'll develop in just about any soup made with one.
Purists might disapprove of my corn version, as it is not perfectly smooth as a proper velouté is supposed to be, but I wanted little crunchy bits of corn to pop in my mouth - it made a nice contrast with the creamy broth.
In a stockpot, gently cook 4 ounces of pancetta until crispy. Remove and set aside to drain. In the fat, saute 2 minced shallots until translucent, and add the kernels of 4 corn cobs, salt, and white pepper. Saute and turn the heat to low. At this point I added the corn milk from the cobs, which is the creamy pulp you get if you scrape the flat of a knife over the cobs after you've removed the kernels.
Meanwhile, make the velouté :
First make a blonde roux. In a skillet, heat 2 ounces of clarified butter over medium high heat. Add 2 ounces of AP flour and stir constantly with a wooden spoon until the resulting paste takes on a blonde color and smells nutty. Remove from heat and allow to cool. In a saucepan, heat 4 cups of chicken stock (or vegetable stock for a vegetarian version) until it boils, and reduce heat. Carefully add the roux and whisk to dissolve. Bring back to a boil, lower the heat and simmer for 10 minutes. The velouté should coat the back of a spoon, but not be too thick - if it is, add more stock.
Add enough of the velouté to the stockpot to cover the corn by about an inch. Throw in a couple of thyme sprigs and gently simmer. Using an immersion blender, whizz the soup to your desired smoothness. Warm 1/3 cup cream and slowly stir into the soup. Season with salt, pepper, and thyme to your taste.
To serve, garnish with the pancetta and green onions. While this soup does have a slight sweetness thanks to the fresh corn, it is most definitely not too sweet. In fact, I declare that it is just right.
And now for the winner of the Back to the Roots grow-your-own mushroom kit. And the winner is ... Evelyn of Cheap Ethnic Eatz! Come on down!:
Thanks for participating everyone ... now go make some soup.