Oh corn -what has happened to you? I read so many menus, all celebrating your season with delightful renditions of corn soup-but so many, so very many, are pairing you with wine. I myself made corn soup that I dressed up with Marscapone cheese just for the fun of it. I look back now and wonder why? Why are we all pushing corn into the "refined" world of wine and Marscapone? Corn is food to be eaten outside, at a barbecue, with your hands. It is made for melting butter on top of and accenting with pepper and salt and ripping its sweet flesh off the cob with your teeth. It isn't a refined food. Corn is delicious, it is versatile, but refined it is not.
I was craving some corn soup, and, as I considered how I would make it, this revelation occurred to me, and I decided to bring corn soup back home again. Beer. What could be more BBQ than beer? This hoppy, bitter liquid just calls out for campfires, hot dogs and friends.
Of course, the real question was, what beer to use. I stood in staring at the selection and finally decided on what was touted as Beer of the Year, Dogfish Head's Raison D'Etra. It was described as a "deep mahogany ale, brewed with Belgian beer sugars, green raisins and a sense of purpose". Sounded to me like it would complement corn well.
Back in my kitchen I began the soup by cutting the kernels off of two ears of corn, and then cutting down the cobs into pieces that would fit in a small sauce pan, covered them with water and set them a-boiling. In a large skillet pan I melted a tablespoon of butter over low heat and then added 4 thinly sliced garlic cloves, and a tablespoon of chopped fresh parsley, salt and pepper. When the garlic had softened, I added the corn kernels, and a teaspoon more of butter. At this stage, I wanted to keep a fair amount of liquid in the pan and over a low enough heat where the corn kernels would cook, but not fry or crisp. Once the butter had melted, I added 2 tablespoons or so of the beer, and raised the heat to a low medium. I covered it, and let it saute. A few minutes later, I gave the corn a good stir, and added more beer, and then covered again. I repeated this until about half the beer had been used, and then kept it covered and over the heat until the alcohol had burned off.
I transferred the mix to my Cuisinart, and blended the mix into a paste. Then I thinned it with the corn stock that had been simmering on the stove. Once we reached a good consistency, if a little thick, I transferred the puree int my chinoise and pressed the wonderful corn juice through its mesh. Finally I was left with just the remaining corn meal, which I would later form into patties with a little extra parsley and sear on the stove top for corn cakes. I placed the soup itself over the heat of the stove again, and simmered until any remaining beer alcohol had simmered out.
The soup itself screamed summer to me. Sweet corn, deep flavored beer, lots of salt, butter and pepper...Every spoonful (despite the slightly unappetizing color) was like corn on the cob in liquid format.
Oh corn- you were always meant for beer weren't you?