Archive for the 'soup' Category

Roasted Corn + Basil Soup

Corn + basil soup

We’re in Tofino at the moment, eating as many summery things as possible – including but not limited to: Dungeness crab we caught ourselves (to great excitement from the cousins) using the scraps left over from our roasted salmon and trout, fresh halibut, lingcod and fish tacos, strawberries from Port Alberni, locally cured bacon and sausage, jelly doughnuts named after the mayor, kale and tiny yellow tomatoes from Catface mountain, peaches, Damson plums and blueberries from the Okanagan, Bamfield Seaweed Salad, eggs from Nanoose bay, Humboldt shrimp, goat cheese and fresh garlic from Salt Spring Island, bunches of fresh basil and as many blackberries as we can pick and carry home.

And the restaurants. There are so many good things to eat here – one of our favourites has always been Shelter, a comfortable space with beautiful woodwork and a fireplace and consistently good food. Yesterday we went after the beach – they do a late lunch – and ordered the daily soup, made with roasted corn and fresh basil. It was so fantastic that I went and introduced myself to the chef and grilled him (nicely) about how he made it. He kindly obliged and walked me through his process.

soup 1

It wouldn’t have been difficult to go home and attempt a roasted corn chowder with wads of basil, but it was interesting to hear how he did it – a method I wouldn’t have used. He roasted the corn whole, by the cob, still in its husk, then scraped the kernels off while they were still warm and simmered the scraped cobs in vegetable stock while preparing the rest of the soup. He sweated the onions and celery, then added gobs of fresh basil, the stock, and a splash of cream, pureed and strained it to get rid of any bits. I strained the first half, then decided I rather liked the rough puree and added the rest as-is. It was delicious even without the cream, but with a litre in the fridge (for berry crisp emergencies) we had to add a splash. It’s all about ingesting as much of summer as we possibly can.

Roasted Corn + Basil Soup

4-6 ears corn on the cob
2 L vegetable or chicken stock
canola or olive oil, for cooking
1 medium onion, chopped
2-3 celery stalks, chopped
1-2 garlic cloves, crushed
2 Tbsp. all-purpose flour
a big handful of fresh basil leaves
salt and freshly ground black pepper
a splash of cream

Preheat the oven to 375F. Place the cobs of corn, in their husks, on a baking sheet and roast for about 45 minutes, then remove from the oven and set aside until cool enough to handle. Cut the kernels of corn off the cob into a bowl, and put the cleaned cobs into a pot with the stock; bring to a simmer. (Toss the husks and silk.)

Meanwhile, in a large saucepan or medium Dutch oven, heat a drizzle of oil over medium heat and saute the onion and celery for 8-10 minutes, until soft and very limp, without browning them. Add the garlic and cook for another few minutes. Shake the flour over the sauteed veggies and stir to coat.

After about 20 minutes, pour the stock off the cobs onto the sauteed veggies. Add the corn kernels (keeping about 1/4 back to add to the pureed soup) and basil and bring to a simmer; cook for a few minutes, season with salt and pepper, and puree right in the pot with a hand-held immersion blender or carefully transfer to a regular blender in batches to puree.

If you like, strain through a coarse sieve to get rid of most of the solids – I did this with half, but liked the texture of the pureed soup so left the rest unstrained. Return to the pot, add a splash of cream and heat through. Serve topped with the reserved whole kernels of corn.

Serves 4-6.

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August 09 2015 | soup and vegetarian | 5 Comments »

Slow Cooker Thai Chicken Soup


I only have the photo I took of this soup with my phone – and not a great one at that. Even then it had already been pilfered, skimmed of its sliced mushrooms, which looked so nice floating on the surface, and of its green onions. There wasn’t much left but shredded chicken, torn cilantro and a few strips of red pepper, but still I have to share. (It’s far prettier here, my launching point, although not quite the same.) Mike looked up from his bowl and said, “you must be happy with this one.”

I kind of love that it has no rice or noodles – no filler. Although you could certainly pile some into your bowl and ladle the soup overtop.

My kitchen is humming slowly along.. I have an oven now, and countertops! But no backsplash, and there are issues with the fridge that prevent me from actually emptying things into it. But we have ice! I’ve never had ice in my house not made from those awkward plastic trays I never seem to have room for in my breadbox-sized freezer. And the sink is technically in, but not sealed. And the counter around it isn’t completely finished. So.

We’re still very much living out of my makeshift dining room kitchen, where pieces of old, torn-out countertops hold the microwave and a few dishes, and a chair beside usually has a slow cooker or electric skillet sitting on top of it. There have been some in need of comfort this week, and so I pulled one of the (many) bags of frozen chunks of meat out of the freezer – this one happened to be most of a very meaty roasted chicken – plunked it in the slow cooker and covered it with water. When it was stock, I pulled out the bones, shredded the chicken and returned it from whence it came, and added some other tasty things to make it coconutty and Thai. It was a hit.

Slow Cooker Thai Chicken Soup

I cheated and got the vegetable bits for the soup in the deli section of the grocery store; I filled a small container with a few sliced mushrooms, purple and green onions, sliced red pepper and radishes. An expensive way to do it I know, but I’m heading out of town in a few days and it saved me buying a big bunch of each and chopping them at home. When the stock was done, I just stirred in the seasonings and upended the container into the pot.

1 leftover meaty roasted chicken carcass
a few thin slices of fresh ginger
big pinch of salt
1 14 oz. (398 mL) can coconut milk
2 Tbsp. brown sugar
1-2 Tbsp. Thai curry paste
2 Tbsp. fish sauce
2 Tbsp. peanut butter
1/4 small purple onion, thinly sliced
1/4 red pepper, seeded and thinly sliced
a few sliced mushrooms
1/3 cup chopped fresh cilantro, plus extra for garnish
1 lime

Place the chicken in the slow cooker and cover with water. Add the ginger and some salt, cover and cook on low heat for 4-6 hours.

Pour the stock through a colander or sieve into a bowl and once it’s cool enough to handle, pull any meat off the bones. Return the stock and meat to the pot and add the coconut milk, brown sugar, curry paste, fish sauce, peanut butter, onion, red pepper, mushrooms and cilantro. Stir, cover and let sit for about 15 minutes, or until the veggies have softened and everything has heated through.

Cut the lime in half and squeeze the juice of half into the soup. Cut the other half into wedges to serve alongside. Serve the soup hot, topped with extra cilantro.

Serves 6.

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November 04 2014 | slow cooker and soup | 10 Comments »

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