Sunday, February 25, 2024

Corn Soup


This post has been a long time in the making, because I lost some pictures for it in the great iPhone snafu last year. To sum up, I tried a few different recipes of corn soup: a summery corn soup with miso, which was fine but would have been better puréed like this one; a corn chowder with bacon and potatoes, also fine; and a Chinese corn and chicken soup that… really had potential.

I made that one twice so far; I scaled down to use less corn (3 cups or 16 oz., then 3 cups of broth), and puréed the whole soup without straining (as opposed to puréeing and straining part of it) because it was just easier. Note that recently I used frozen corn instead of fresh, and while it’s different in taste, it’s also very good! I made it with the ham and chicken the first time, then only with the chicken the second time (this is what I’m writing below). I think I would just make it vegetarian next time, and maybe reduce the amount of cornstarch a bit. The egg ribbons are great. This was definitely the best soup of the bunch!

1 (3- to 4-oz.) boneless, skinless chicken thigh, trimmed and cut into ¼” pieces
5 tsp. + ½ cup water, divided
1 tsp. + 3 Tbsp. cornstarch, divided
1 tsp. soy sauce
1/8 tsp. baking soda
2 large eggs
4 cups chicken broth, divided (see note above)
5-7 ears of corn, kernels cut from cobs (5 cups), divided (see note above)
¾ tsp. table salt
¼ tsp. white pepper
1 scallion, thinly sliced

Combine chicken, 1 tablespoon water, 1 teaspoon cornstarch, soy sauce, and baking soda in a bowl. Let stand at room temperature while preparing the other ingredients.

In a liquid measuring cup, beat eggs and 2 teaspoons water with fork until whites and yolks are thoroughly combined and color is pure yellow; set aside.

Mix ½ cup chicken broth and remaining 3 Tbsp. cornstarch in a small bowl until thoroughly combined; set aside.

Process 2 ½ cups corn and remaining ½ cup water in blender on low speed until a thick purée forms, about 30 seconds. Increase speed to high and continue to process until smooth, about 1 minute longer. Strain purée through fine-mesh strainer set over large saucepan. Using the back of a ladle or rubber spatula, push purée through strainer, extracting as much liquid as possible. Discard solids.

Add salt, white pepper, remaining 3 ½ cups broth, and remaining 2 ½ cups corn to corn purée. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce heat to maintain simmer and add chicken, stirring to break up any clumps. Partially cover and simmer for 5 minutes (broth may look curdled as it comes to simmer). Stir broth-cornstarch mixture to recombine. Add to soup, uncovered, stirring occasionally, until soup has thickened slightly, about 2 minutes.

Holding a fork in one hand and the measuring cup with the egg mixture in the other hand, pour the egg mixture in a slow, steady stream through the tines of the fork in concentric circles over the saucepan until ribbons of coagulated egg form, about 1 minute. Season soup with salt and white pepper to taste. Gently ladle soup into bowls, sprinkle with scallion, and serve.

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