- Food & Drink
It’s mid-September and Autumn’s abundance is upon us. The shops are full of red, yellow and purple things and chief amongst these is sweetcorn. There are piles of corn on the cobs everywhere. The savviest shopper will be lured in by the seasonality, buy a couple of corncobs, take them home and then leave them to wither in the fridge. No one in Britain really knows what to do with a corn cob.
You can order one as a side with a KFC in order to pretend it’s much healthier than McDonald’s. Or you can have it as a side dish with your normal dinner, but that always seems wrong because you eat your meal with a knife and fork and then you have to pick up the corn cob and, well, it doesn’t work, does it? There is talk of just having a corn on the cob for dinner with butter and salt, but that’s the sort of thing foodies say before going home and eating cereal out of the box with their hands.
Sweetcorn remains an interloper in our cuisine and it’s left on the side, turned into relish or consigned to the culinary wasteland of the British barbecue. Looking at the corn rotting in my fridge, I decided to give it a chance and turned it into a very simple soup.
Sweetcorn and paprika soup
Serves 2 generously
4 fresh corn on the cobs
A slice of butter, about 25g
1 small onion, finely chopped
A good pinch of paprika – hot, smoked or the stuff you have left over from that time you did goulash, the choice is yours
700ml hot vegetable stock
Chopped fresh parsley, to garnish
1 Run and knife down the sides of the corn cobs to slice off the sweetcorn kernels. Set aside. Melt the butter in a medium-sized pan over a low heat. Add the onion and fry very gently, stirring, for 10 minutes until softened but not coloured. Add a good-sized pinch of paprika and the sweetcorn and cook, stirring, for a further 2–3 minutes, then pour in the vegetable stock.
2 Increase the heat and bring to the boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for 20 minutes. Remove the soup from the heat. Ladle 2/3 of the soup into a food processor or blender and blitz until smooth – you can also do this in a bowl with a hand-held blender, but you will get spattered with hot soup.
3 Return the soup to the pan and stir to combine. Taste and season with salt and pepper. If the soup is too thick for your taste (and who doesn’t like a soup you can spread on bread?), you can add more vegetable stock or a splash of milk or cream. If you add cold dairy, you may need to return the soup to the heat briefly, but don’t bring it back to the boil. Adjust the seasoning if necessary.
4 Ladle into deep bowls and garnish with a tiny pinch of paprika and some chopped fresh parsley leaves to serve.