Corn and Sweet Potato Soup
January 23, 2009
I’m sure corn must be a sacred vegetable in some part of the world or some ancient civilisation. There’s something intriguing and symbolic about those nuggets of gold nestling within the deep green leaves.
And they taste good too. Best of all is corn roasted on a barbecue, lightly blackened and smoky, lavished with salted butter. There is no way to eat a corn cob delicately. You have to get to get down to it with both hands and you always end up satisfyingly messy, butter dripping onto your chin and down your forearms.
Sweetcorn kernels are formidable in fritters too, making a sweet crunchy heart to the deep-fried batter. Again this is moreish unpretetentious food, something you might buy on a street stall, that demands to be eaten the moment the fritter is ready, hot and crisp, with a scoop of sour cream or a dollop of spicy tomato relish.
Corn also makes the nicest soup I know. It’s not fancy or grand in any way, but it tastes earthy. Perhaps it’s because however much you blend the soup it never loses its grainy texture.
Some cooks add sherry. My preference is for a couple of tablespoons of Ginger Wine (Stone’s Original), not really for the alcoholic kick but for its gentle heat, as if something warm were stroking your throat.
Corn and Sweet Potato soup, for 4
300g sweet potatoes, peeled and chopped, like chips
1 medium onion, finely chopped
1 clove garlic, crushed
1 red chilli, chopped
4 tbs olive oil
1 x 340g tin of sweetcorn
1 tbs brown sugar
1 tbs soya sauce
1 tbs barley miso
1.2 litres stock
200 ml milk
100 ml cream
chopped fresh coriander, to garnish
Melt the butter with the oil over a low heat, stir in the onion and fry gently until it begins to turn translucent. Add in the garlic, the chilli and the sweet potatoes and fry over a low heat for about 15 minutes, stirring often to make sure the potatoes don’t stick nor the garlic blacken.
Add the sweetcorn, sugar, miso and soya sauce, heat them through, and then pour in the stock. Bring the soup to the boil and simmer for about 20 minutes, or until the potatoes are tender.
Add the milk and liquidise the soup in batches. If you are going for the ginger wine add that in now, too. Reheat.
Serve with a little curve of cream on the surface of each thick and hearty bowlful, along with a sprinkling of coriander.