A Real Corn Soup — Une soupe au vrai maïs

corn soup paprika

Corn Soup, Fresh Herbs and Paprika

Qu’est-ce que tu fais ?” (What are you up to?)

Je prépare une soupe au maïs,” (I am preparing a corn soup) I told my mum when she and I chatted on the phone a few days ago. She stayed silent. And then I remembered that she does not like corn that much. So she says. I paused and replied:

Et, tu trouves facilement des épis de maïs ?” (Do you find corn ears easily?)

Oh non, il faut aller en ville pour en trouver.

Corn ears are not common in France and will be difficult to find in small village stores, even if we have plenty of corn fields. To be able to purchase corn ears, my mum needs to drive to the nearest much bigger town. In fact, I had never eaten corn on the cob before moving to the United States. Until then, the only corn I knew was corn in a can. The fake corn!

Mais les épis de maïs, c’est comme les betteraves, c’est pour les bêtes. Nous, on n’en mange pas !” (Corn ears are like beets, they are for animals and not for humans), Monsieur M., the biggest farmer of the village, used to tell me when I asked what he did with the loads of corn he cultivated. I used to play in his corn fields with Manuel, his son.

But little did he know. And little did I know too. Corn on the cob, the real corn, is delicious, and I simply wished that I had known this all along. This summer especially, P. and I have eaten a lot of it. I even think that one week, we must have had corn on the cob three nights in a row. This is how badly we were craving it. We would greedily bite into the cob to taste each kernel burst and release its delicious sweet juice. I like to savor mine slowly too, eating one row after the other, making sure that I will not move to the next row before I have managed to suck every bit of sugary water. Every time I buy corn ears I feel excited, as if I was going to experience eating corn on the cob for the first time again. It is probably not special for most of you who grew up with it, but for me the Frenchie who only knew corn in a can for so many years, it stays something really special.

corn soup paprika

So here we are. The month of September has just arrived. It is really one of the best months in New England. The best month of summer because in fact, it means that we are leaving summer behind. At least, my brain will now be able to function properly. It will no longer feel hazy from too much heat. Oh yes, I have actually been longing for that very moment. I actually prefer September to July or August in the same way I prefer fall to summer. At this time of year, I get up every morning all excited at the prospect of discovering bright, fresh and clear sunny days with blue skies, feeling happy to be able to wear real clothes again, trousers, long-sleeve shirts or a light sweater. As a kid, I always loved September anyway. The smell of “la rentrée” when children went back to school was all exciting to me. I was one of those weird kids feeling excited to walk to school again, even if I would miss les grandes vacances (summer vacation). September was also the month when my mum and dad would also go back to school, to teach. And, it was the time of year when my mum started to cook scrumptious homemade hearty vegetable soups again, to save time, and to feed us well, as she always did.

This being said, I thought about fresh corn because it is still the season around here, and then I remembered lovely Tami from Running with Tweezers. For the second year, she is organizing a Super Soup Challenge, a fun event she is hosting in the memory of her mum. Since I regretfully failed to participate last year — mind you, not from a lack of loving to eat and prepare soups — I thought that I wouldn’t this year. Surprisingly, I found inspiration to make the following corn soup from the latest copy of the French magazine Elle à Table — who would have thought that real corn, a.k.a. corn on the cob in my world, is even mentioned in French food magazines — but then I ended up modifying the recipe ingredients and quantities to share my recipe with you. I used plenty of fresh herbs like chervil and parsley to boost the soup in freshness, and ground paprika to give it a smoky, peppery taste, a great balance I thought, next to the sweetness of the corn.

And do you know what? It was extremely simple to make, and tasted delicious. I only wished that my mum could believe me, and I could offer her a bowl of this soup. She might change her mind and even start to like corn. And, perhaps she would suddenly feel the urge to drive to town to buy fresh corn ears too.

Who knows what corn on the cob can do?

corn soup paprika

Corn Soup, Fresh Herbs and Paprika

Corn Soup with Fresh Herbs and Paprika

(For 4 appetizer servings)

You need:

  • 4 corn ears*
  • 1 + 1/4 cups whole milk
  • 2/3 cup heavy cream
  • Salt and pepper
  • Touch of paprika
  • Mix of chervil and parsley

Steps:

  • Cook the corn ears (without the husks) in salted water for 15 min. Rinse them and cut the kernels off with a sharp knife.
  • Place the milk and cream in a pot with the corn kernels (keep a few on the side). Add the herbs, salt and pepper and a touch of paprika, and bring to a gentle simmer. Cook for 15 min.
  • Stop the heat and mix the soup in a blender.
  • Serve with fresh herbs, the reserved corn, and fresh paprika. Do not forget a hearty piece of country bread too.


*I used bicolor corn ears for this soup. Note that the soup texture is rather thick. If you like it thinner, add more milk or cream.

Le coin français
Soupe au maïs, herbes fraîches et paprika

(Pour 4 portions en entrée)

Ingrédients :

  • 4 épis de maïs*
  • 300 ml de lait entier
  • 150 ml de crème liquide
  • Sel et poivre
  • Paprika moulu
  • Mélange de persil et de cerfeuil, hachés

Étapes :

  • Faites cuire les épis de maïs nettoyés de leur foin dans de l’eau bouillante salée, pendant 15 min. Rinsez les épis sous de l’eau froide. Avec un couteau aiguisé, coupez les grains de maïs.
  • Mettez le lait et la crème dans une grande casserole avec les grains de maïs (gardez-en quelques uns de côté). Ajoutez les herbes et une pincée de paprika. Faites cuire sur feu doux pendant 15 min.
  • Retirez du feu et mixez la soupe finement dans un robot.
  • Servez la soupe avec des herbes fraîches, les grains de maïs gardés de côté et un peu de paprika. N’oubliez pas non plus une belle tranche de pain de campagne.

*J’ai utilisé des épis de maïs bicolores pour cette soupe. La texture de la soupe est épaisse. Si vous préférez une soupe plus fluide, ajoutez plus de lait ou de crème.

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Posted in Appetizers, Gluten Free, Soup, Vegetarian | 63 Comments

63 comments

  1. la texture épaisse me va très bien :) et hop ! dans le carnet !!!! merci :)
    Ici on dit “moi je ne mange pas de maïs, j’suis pas une poule” :)))))

  2. Im going to try this using some of my Spanish smoked paprika. My husband adores corn soup, but says the best he ever had was in, of all places, Tokyo.

  3. j’aimerais y goûter ça doit être drôlement bon mais c’est vra que les épis de maïs ne se trouvent pas facilement chez nous …

  4. Oh j’adore ton article! J’aurais pu dire la même chose : “I had never eaten corn on the cob before moving to the United States. Until then, the only corn I knew was corn in a can. The fake corn!” Avant, je ne connaissais l’épi de maïs que par l’intermédiaire d’un dessin animé de Mickey, et je l’ai enfin goûté une première fois lors d’un anniversaire dans une famille américaine, avec le barbecue of course! Quel plaisir!

  5. Beautiful, Bea. I love the little flecks of fresh herb.

    I’d imagine any leftovers would make a really nice pasta sauce?

  6. J’aime beaucoup ajouter des lamelles de jambon cru croustillantes avec. Tes photos donnent toujours autant l’eau à la bouche !

  7. wow….pretty and delicious real corn soup, like it!!
    BTW, I also like the slim spoon in your photo! :)

  8. Oh Bea, I’m craving this – it looks absolutely lovely and I can almost taste the sweetness of the corn. And I like it thick too :)

  9. My favorite soup growing up was corn soup! There was nothing as comforting as the sweet flavor of corn.

  10. I often feel nostalgic after reading your post. I recalled when I am a little girl, a couple from France came to visit our family. My parents organize a typical Epluchette de ble d’inde (a casual outdoor party popular In Quebec where the main course is freshly picked corns on the cobs. We cook them in boiling water and it is served with butter, salt and pepper). It took them a while, but our French guests finally tried it. They were so surprised to enjoy the taste.

  11. Fresh corn soup sounds delicious, I think I may have to buy an ear or two today!

  12. And it looks delicious Bea. I like to make fritters with fresh corn when it is in season. I have to say I’m so looking forward to our summer as I really don’t like the cold weather.

  13. I noticed the first time I was in the south of France that there are corn fields everywhere, but no corn! Of course it is all going towards feeding the animals, I think, but how much we would have loved to have corn on the cob. I like corn every which way — in soup, in salads, with beans, and baked into cornbread.

  14. You spoke my heart, Bea! Fresh corns are so tasty and delicious… I was lucky enough to have a grandmother who used to grow a lot of corns. I can still remember how it tasted fresh from the field!

  15. you know what, bea? I grew up with the exact same words. corn is for the animals. i used to always steal the young plants in the early summer when you could still eat the whole thing, but after that, we never saw the corn again until it ended up in our salad in the form of oil. i cannot remember ever eating corn on the cob, yet i love it now, liberally smothered in chilli butter ebing a firm favourite ;-)

  16. Les photos sont splendides et donnent envie de tenter cette soupe au mais..!!…de plus tous les matins, je viens lire les articles pour parfaire mon anglais….un bonheur….hop dans les favoris !!!

  17. I grew up eating corn on the cob…only finding out when I was an adult that in some places it really was only for the animals. Either way, it’s delicious when boiled or barbecues…and your soup looks like a fantastic way to have it too! :)

  18. Bea, I am exactly like you, love ear corn!!!! My grandparents had a small cottage where my sisters and I used to spend vacations, they planted corn for the animals but always harvest lots of baby fresh corns for us. I just loved to eat the corn toasted in the wood oven ashes, we would put butter and salt and there was a great treat! Thank you for sharing this great memory with us.
    Loved your blog. I am from Brasil and have a blog too, but in Portuguese.
    Have a great week.

    http://www.mangiachetefabene.wordpress.com

  19. Béa, you are a girl after my heart. Yes, give me cool! Give me fall. Give me corn!
    After Peabody’s and your’s I’m thinking I must make corn soup soon!
    I hope there’s a time you can win your mum over with some corn ears!

  20. Well Béa, I’m doing my best to introduce as many of my French friends to corn on the cob as possible. Judging from their reactions, I’m sure we’ll be seeing more of it in the markets in the future. Anything that stand up to all that good butter and salt is bound to be adopted here soon.
    At least I hope so!

  21. I had no idea that corn on the cob was considered for animals only in some parts of the world. I have never had canned corn and I’m glad you can now appreciate what you like to call “real corn,” my corn. I’ve never had corn soup though so I should take a tip from you!

  22. I love corn on the cob, too. They always sell it at fairs/fete when I was growing up. This corn soup looks so luscious. Bicolour corn ears makes it look prettier.

  23. i feel the same way about canned corn….i dont see how it can be sold as corn, it tastes nothing of corn. I leave for Paris on Friday…..hopefully i’ll manage a year without corn!

  24. I love corn on the cob. Hear me singing it’s praises? haha And how can you go wrong with corn and cream? Wonderful soup. Great job :)

  25. Well it looks very pretty, but you Bostonians are doing the indoor thing already?!
    Wintering up so soon?
    I’m not ready. On second thought I could easily snack on it cold next day :)

  26. Bea, beautiful as always :D Corn soup is something I have struggled with – I had it once as a child and unfortunately I got a horrible case of food poisoning afterwards :( This looks so gorgeous though, that I think I can fight my fear and give it another try!

  27. The soup looks so good and this was a very informative post. I had no idea that fresh corn was uncommon in France!

  28. I love corn in anything: corn cakes, corn ice cream, corn on the cob, sweet tamale with only corn, corn chowder, etc. Your soup looks like corn chowder…I am sure it was delicious. :)

  29. Thank you for your comments, everyone! I love to hear your corn stories, and also hope that yes, in places like France, people will realize soon enough how delicious it is as a vegetable. I have so many dishes and soups I want to make with it Better hurry up before it is off season.

  30. Bea, my husband and I share your excitement about corn in season, even though we grew up with it. When it has its all-too-brief season, we can’t get enough. I think some people don’t like corn because they may not be getting true sweet corn, picked at the height of the season and cooked on the same day. The sort that’s grown for animal feed or for drying and grinding into meal are actually different varieties, and not nearly as delicious for fresh consumption — although they’re sometimes sold as if they are indeed sweet corn. I made corn soup a few weeks ago too — corn is one of those ingredients that really pervades even dishes with other strong flavors. Thanks for this beautiful post.

  31. Personnellement, les épis de maïs me rappellent le Maroc et les marchands qui le faisaient griller au bord des routes…
    Il y en a justement dans mon frigo; je retiens l’idée de la soupe, ça doit être drôlement bon !

  32. That’s funny, I just made a corn soup on my blog as well. A bit different than yours. Your soup looks great, I’ll have to try it out.

  33. Your soup looks so good I wish I could get a spoon and dig right in! My parents have corn that’s almost ready at their farm. I’ll have to make your soup with it!

  34. Moi qui suis à la recherche de soupes originales… Merci, ça a l’air délicieux. Le temps en France n’étant pas vraiment caniculaire ces derniers jours, ça nous fera du bien !

  35. All the corn that I had in France and Switzerland was tasteless and expensive to boot! No wonder people don’t like it! I had to spend a corn-less summer last year, missing the bounty that we’re lucky to have Stateside.

    Your corn soup looks lovely!

  36. I never boil corn. I prefer roasted – either oven or bbq – in the husks. You will not BELIEVE the difference!

  37. This looks amazing & familiar, I’ve tried the recipe from the latest issue of Elle a table. C’est facile et c’est bon! J’aime le potage au lait de maïs!

  38. Un delice! J’ai prepare cette soupe hier soir et… rebelote pour le diner! En plus, le mais que j’ai trouve ici (Ireland) vient de France!!Merci

  39. Thanks a lot everyone, once more.

    Fedouce, merci. J’en suis super contente!

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  42. Like Casey’s husband, corn soup in Japan is great. Although, I think all food in Japan is amazing. And I still haven’t found a worthy corn soup recipe, but this looks great, and I’m trying it out for Thanksgiving.

  43. Etant expatrié au Mexique depuis quelques années, je peux vous dire que la “Crema de elote” est une soupe très commune ici. En fait on déguste le maïs à toutes les sauces. Et il y a différentes variétés de maïs qui font que son goût et ses couleurs (noir, bleu, vert, rouge) sont particuliers…
    Ca tombe j’ai des quesadillas sur le comal !

  44. Bonjour Béa,
    Je ne laisse pas souvent de commentaire mais je consulte régulièrement ton site si joli. Aujourd’hui je me suis permise de t’emprunter ta soupe de maïs que j’ai un peu remixé à ma sauce sur mon blog. Merci beaucoup pour la recette ! à bientôt

  45. N’y a-t-il personne qui importe le cerfeuil en boite aux Etats Unis.
    Pour faire la soupe au cerfeuil, (le desseché est ridicule)
    Is there a source of canned chervil in the US.
    To make chervil soup the dried herb type is ridiculous

  46. I’ve been wondering what to do with all the sweet corn tumbling from the farmers market stalls! This is incredible, I just tried it out the other day. Mine wasn’t quite as pretty, but it was delicious. I linked back for my readers to try it out, too. Thanks!

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  49. I don’t want to sound like a jerk, but this wasn’t good at all. I love corn soups and chowders and have made several different versions. This recipe produced lumpy corn in milk. Save yourself the trouble and eat corn on the cob with a glass of milk on the side. Check out America Test Kitchen’s pantry corn chowder recipe for a great meal featuring corn.

  50. Hi Bea, this soup was awesome, we prepared it for dinner tonight, although I find it a bit too thick for my taste and it may be a problem of corn size but it was not enough (I cut the recipe in half for us)! Anyway, thank you. I love your recipes!!!

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