Sweet Corn & Sweet Potato Soup

This soup is summer in a bowl…which is probably why I’m craving it during this particularly frigid winter. It’s wonderful year-round, but especially so when fresh, sweet corn is at its peak. The rest of the year I use frozen corn kernels and frozen corn on the cob, which make for an excellent substitute. The sweet potatoes in this recipe serve two purposes — they offer a subtle sweetness and help thicken this rich, creamy, soul-warming soup. Soup’s on!

4 1/2 cups fresh corn kernels (about 6 ears), 3 cobs reserved
2 cups half-and-half
1 tablespoon olive oil
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 medium onion, diced
2 medium sweet potatoes, peeled and diced
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
1/4 teaspoon dried dill
1/4 cup sherry
3 cups chicken stock

Instructions

  1. Cut reserved corn cobs in half and place in a pot with the half-and-half. Heat over medium high heat until half and half come to a boil. Immediately reduce heat to medium and simmer for 15 minutes. (Keep an eye on the half and half to make sure it doesn’t return to a boil.)
  2. Heat olive oil in a large soup pot over medium high heat. Add garlic, onions, potatoes, crushed red pepper flakes, thyme and dill. (If you have fresh herbs on hand, use about a teaspoon of each.) Cook, stirring occasionally, until onions soften and begin to brown slightly, about 5 minutes. Stir in corn kernels and cook just until kernels are heated through, about a minute.
  3. Deglaze the pan with sherry, using a wooden spoon to scrape up any bits of food stuck to the bottom of the pan. Once most of the sherry has evaporated (there should be about a tablespoon left in the pot), add chicken stock and simmer until potatoes are soft, 10-15 minutes.
  4. Remove corn cobs from half-and-half and throw them away. Carefully add half-and-half to corn and potatoes and simmer 10-15 minutes. Ladle about 4 cups of the soup into a blender and puree until smooth. Return puree to soup pot, stirring occasionally, and simmer for 5 minutes. Garnish with a sprinkling of fresh thyme, dill or chopped fresh chives.
  5. Makes about 8 cups of soup.

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