It’s not corn season, but you can make the puree of corn soup with frozen corn. I’ve found some sweet frozen corn at Trader Joe’s, and there might be some left!
Pureed White Bean Soup with Pistou
1 large onion, chopped
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 pound white beans, soaked overnight or for 6 hours and drained
1 bay leaf
1 sprig of fresh sage
2 1/2 to 3 quarts water, as needed (or 2 1/2 quarts water and up to 2 cups milk as needed)
Salt to taste
Freshly ground pepper
About 1/3 cup pesto (if making pesto, omit pine nuts)
1. Combine the onion, garlic, drained beans, bay leaf, sage, and 2 1/2 quarts water in a large, heavy soup pot or Dutch oven and bring to a boil. Add salt to taste, reduce the heat to low, cover and simmer 2 hours, until the beans are very tender and the broth fragrant. Remove the bay leaf and sage sprig.
2. Using an immersion blender, puree the soup (or you can use a regular blender, working in batches and placing a kitchen towel over the top to avoid splashing) until very smooth. Return to the pot, heat through, add freshly ground pepper and adjust salt. Thin out as desired with water or milk.
3. Ladle the soup into bowls. Stir the pesto, and if it is very stiff, thin out with a little olive oil so that you can drizzle it into each bowl and it won’t just fall in as a clump. Put about 2 teaspoons on each bowl, add a few garlic croutons if desired, and serve. Diners should stir the pistou into the soup for the best flavor.
Advance preparation: You can make the soup through Step 1 a few days in advance and refrigerate. It will thicken as it sits, so you’ll want to thin it out when you reheat.
Puree of Corn Soup
This soup is all about corn, intensely so. If your corn isn’t sweet, then the soup will be dull, so make sure it’s good before you begin. Use the cobs for the stock and the kernels for the soup. The soup should be very smooth and very fragrant.
Note: I have found some sweet frozen white corn, and you can use this and still come up with a delicious soup. It won’t be as fragrant because you’re not making a stock with the corn cobs, but it’ll still be good.
For the Stock:
The cobs from 3 large ears corn
1 small onion, quartered
1/2 pound carrots, sliced
1 garlic clove, peeled and crushed
2 quarts water
Salt to taste
For the soup:
1 tablespoon canola oil
1 small or 1/2 medium sweet onion, chopped
Salt, preferably kosher salt, to taste
Kernels from 3 large ears corn, or 3 cups corn kernels
Cooked kernels from 1 ear of corn
1. Make the stock: Combine the corn cobs, quartered onion, carrots, garlic, and water in a large soup pot and bring to a boil. Season with a small amount of salt (you will be reducing this broth, so don’t salt fully at this point). Reduce the heat, cover and simmer 1 hour. Strain and return to the pot. Bring to a boil and reduce to 5 cups. Taste and adjust seasoning.
2. Heat the oil in a heavy soup pot and add the onion and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Cook, stirring, until tender, about 5 minutes, and add the corn kernels. Cook gently for about 3 minutes, stirring, and add the stock. Bring to a simmer, cover and simmer over low heat for 30 minutes.
3. Transfer to a blender in 1 to 1 1/2-cup batches, taking care to cover the top with a towel to avoid hot splashes, and blend the soup until smooth. Put through a medium strainer, pressing the soup through with the bottom of a ladle or with a spatula, and return to the pot. Heat through, taste and adjust seasonings. Place a generous spoonful of corn in each bowl, ladle in the soup, and serve.
Advance preparation: You can prepare the soup several hours before you serve. Heat through gently on top of the stove.
Puree of Lettuce, Peas and Herbs
Serves 4 to 6
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 leeks, white and light green part only, cleaned and sliced
Salt to taste
5 cups frozen or fresh peas (1 1/2 pounds – 2 12-ounce bags frozen)
3 cups, tightly packed, coarsely chopped Boston or bibb lettuce
5 cups chicken stock, vegetable stock, or water
1/3 cup coarsely chopped fresh tarragon leaves
1/4 cup coarsely chopped flat leaf parsley leaves
1/4 cup coarsely chopped fresh mint leaves
1/4 cup chopped chives, plus additional for garnish
Chopped fresh tarragon, chives, and/or mint for garnish
1. Heat 1 tablespoon of the oil over medium heat in a large, heavy soup pot or Dutch oven and add the leeks and a pinch of salt. Cook, stirring, until tender, about 5 minutes. Add the peas, lettuce, and stock or water and bring to a boil. Add salt to taste, reduce the heat, cover and simmer 5 minutes. Remove from the heat. Drain through a strainer set over a bowl and allow the vegetables and the broth to cool for 15 minutes. Taste the broth and season as desired.
2. Working in batches, puree the vegetables and herbs in a blender with the broth and additional olive oil for 2 minutes, until frothy and smooth. Return to the pot, stir and reheat gently; or pour into a bowl and stir to combine. Taste and adjust seasonings. If serving cold, chill for several hours.
3. Serve, garnishing with additional chives, tarragon and/or mint.