Every good Midwestern boy enjoys corn. Some like it on the cob, some off. Some like it in cornbread or creamed, and some like it in soup.
I like it all those ways, but my recent new favorite is in a coup with Mexican style ingredients. It seems every good Mexican boy likes corn as well.
As I make this soup, its a peasant food (OK, food for a peasant with a hand-blender), but you could easily make it a little fancier with a little straining to get the corn niblet skins out. I like the fiber and don't mind the texture at all.
Unlike yesterday's chiles rellenos recipe, this is a recipe to make when you've got a lot going on and not much time to pay attention to making dinner. You could make this recipe with fresh corn, but frozen works well here. I'd still avoid canned corn, which is only good for weighing down tofu presses, in my opinion.
You can substitute jalapenos or serranos for the poblano and yogurt or sour cream for the crema in this recipe, but if you have to pick only one of those to keep, keep the crema. It adds a very authentic feel to the soup.
This soup is spicy, creamy, sweet, sophisticated, and simple all at once. No, really. Try it and tell me if you disagree.
For additional flavor, thaw and roast the niblets first to concentrate their essence.
Sopa Elots (Corn Soup, Mexican style)
2 leeks, cleaned and chopped roughly, white parts only
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon butter
pinch of salt
3 cloves garlic, peeled and smashed
1 16 oz. bag frozen corn niblets
1 poblano pepper, chopped coarsely
1/2 red onion, diced coarsely
1 teaspoon cayenne
3 cups vegetable stock
2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
1/2 cup Mexican/Salvadoran crema
Sautee the leeks and garlic in the oil and butter over medium heat until the leeks are softened but not colored.
Add the poblano, corn, and onion. Sautee for about a minute or two. Add the stock and cayenne. Bring just to a boil, reduce to a simmer and cook covered for 20 minutes.
Take the soup off the heat. Add the cilantro and crema. Blend the soup with an immersion blender until smooth. Serve with a tortilla chip and cilantro garnish.