Thursday, May 31, 2012

Creamy Harissa-Corn Soup

With summer comes along an ingredient I can eat all year round: corn!  I am so blessed to have fresh Jersey corn available so easily and in such abundance. These wonderful packets of joy have become such a prevalent part of our modern lives that you'll find it not only on your dining table, but in your fuel, animal feed and even penicillin! Isn't it great what nature can provide us with?!

Right now, our Jersey corn is at its peak: sweet and succulent. So when I stopped by the grocery store this week and saw a sale on corn, I knew I just had to stock up.  Some of them were boiled and I roasted a few Taiwanese-style (more on that later) and the last few I saved for this creamy harissa-corn soup.

I love the taste of corn on its own, so I tried to keep this recipe as simple as possible with as few ingredients to keep the pure corn taste distinguishable.  I saved the kernel-less cobs to steep in the milk and give the entire soup an even more intense corn taste. Make sure to reserve any corn milk (juices from when you cut the kernels off cob) to add to the soup. You do not need to toast the corn kernels if you do not have the time and just purée it raw.  However, I think toasting it brings the natural sweetness to the forefront and adds an additional caramelization taste.

When you top the soup with the harissa paste, do use it with caution.  A small dollop can pack quite a wallop!  The flavors come together really nicely in this quick and easy soup.  You can still taste the wonderful sweetness of the corn through the heat of the harissa. The créme fraîche adds a nice cool finish.


Serves 4

8 ears of corn, kernels removed and cobs reserved
4 cups 2% milk
2 bay leaves
3 cloves garlic, whole and peeled
1 tbsp canola oil
2 tbsp granulated sugar

1 1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper

Harissa paste, to taste

Créme fraîche  or Greek yogurt
1 tbsp snipped flowering chives or chives

1. In a medium stockpot, add corn, milk, bay leaves, and garlic.  Bring to a boil on medium-high heat and then lower to low.  Simmer for 20-25 minutes to allow the flavors to come together.

2.  While the corn broth is simmering, toast corn kernels in a large sauté pan with canola oil on high heat for approximately 5 minutes until golden brown, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat until ready to use.

3.  In a blender, add toasted kernels, corn broth and sugar.  Make sure to remove the bay leaf and garlic cloves from the broth. On high, purée the mixture for several minutes.  Add salt and pepper slowly and adjust seasoning to taste. I like to leave it slightly chunky for a nice texture, but you can purée till smooth if you prefer.

4.  Serve immediately in a soup bowl. Top with a dollop of créme fraîche, harissa paste and chives.


  1. This creamy corn soup looks so beautiful... like a work of art. Same here I could eat corn all year round.. be it in a soup, be it roasted, boiled with butter... OMG! love love love corn.

    Thanks for dropping by,

  2. Oh yum! I love soup! I have sadly not made any for so long. I must resume, this looks great!

  3. Harissa is an incredible condiment! Unfortunately, it's really expensive here, which can get annoying. Lovely soup!

  4. I'll have to go find Harissa, great soup idea!

  5. Love it! Beautiful presentation, love the flower petals!