June 13, 2011

Pantry Raid! Corn Soup

Yes, pantry raid!  I'm a huge believer in a well stocked kitchen with versatile options.  I'd like to say it's because I adore cooking, but really it's because I get lazy in the kitchen when I get busy everywhere else.  Cooking always relaxes me, so stocking staples mean I get to eat a home cooked meal without the hassle of grocery shopping without a car.

I have a lot of the typical staples like dried pasta, chicken stock, garlic, red onions, bacon, unsalted butter, an impressive collection of spices and dried herbs, and a smattering of frozen fruits and vegetables.  Some of my other favorites include chipotle in adobo, agave nectar (texture of honey without the domineering flavor), wasabi paste, lemon grass paste, granny smith apples, couscous, arborio rice for risotto, 90 second rice packets, different vinegars like apple cider and balsamic, and half and half or cream.  All of my pantry staples are comforting without being boring, which is imperative for pantry cooking.

My final lab rotation report was due last week, making me a 2nd year PhD student and my fridge very bare.  I've been on a corn and chipotle kick recently, so I decided use my supercool lime green immersion blender to make myself a quick dinner of corn soup.

Pantry Raid Corn Soup
2 strips of bacon
1/2 a red onion, finely chopped
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1 package of frozen corn
1 chipotle and 1 tsp adobo sauce
chicken stock
milk / cream / half and half / any dairy you want
light agave nectar
salt and pepper to taste

I started the pan with two strips of bacon until all of the fat was rendered and it was crisp enough for soup topping.  I sauteed the onions in the bacon fat, adding garlic when the onions were browned.  I added the chipotle and the adobo sauce to coat the onions and ensure the chipotle was the base flavor of the soup.  I added the package of corn and let it heat through to at least room temperature.  I added enough chicken stock to cover the vegetables and added couple splashes of cream.  I brought the soup to a boil and simmered for 5-10 minutes.  Blending time!

Immersion Blending

I poured the simmered soup into a large bowl and mixed it with the immersion blender to give it a rustic and homey texture.  If you want to make the soup company-suitable you can use a sieve to strain the soup of any kernel skin, but tonight was all about comfort.

I topped the soup with the bacon and some avocado chunks.  Some other toppers could be sour cream, salsa, or cheese.  The whole soup takes about 20 minutes to make and is fantastic for pantry raiding nights.

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