Based on a French-influenced Japanese dish called corn potage, this sweet corn soup recipe is rich, creamy, and naturally sweet, with a good amount of spice coming from the paprika drizzle.
Delectable sweet corn
In Japan, corn potage rivals curry as comfort food. And like curry, this sweet corn soup recipe is a European import. It originated in medieval France, where they cooked vegetables until they formed a thick porridge. Curry came to Japan via the UK, the colonial power ruling India for 190 years. It was Portuguese traders who first introduced corn to Japan in the 16th century. From the late 19th century, the more edible sweet corn from North America became an increasingly popular ingredient in Japanese cuisine.
There is something about sweet corn that I have never tired of. The childhood memories are still vivid: sweet corn from the garden, boiled, then smothered in melted butter and sprinkled with salt. And I still often enjoy sweet corn prepared in that most simple of ways. But this ubiquitous vegetable is so versatile, contributing its magic to many culinary contexts. Take a look at this charred corn puree, these corn and green onion waffles, and this Saigon street food as a ramen topping.
The paprika drizzle
The paprika and chilli drizzle is not a traditional addition but an experiment that worked really well. I was fortunate to receive some wonderful smoked paprika from some friends in Spain. The real thing. It certainly has a deeper, more complex flavour than those generic spice jars from the local supermarket. This drizzle lifts the already delicious corn soup to a whole other level.
The vegetable stock was homemade. If you don’t have some in your freezer already and don’t have the time to make a new batch, buy a low sodium vegetable stock from your local supermarket.
I served the soup with some mini-baguettes, drizzled with a herb-infused olive oil, and crisped up in the oven for a few minutes.
Sweet corn soup with a paprika drizzle
- 3 cobs corn husks removed
- 1 onion peeled and diced
- 1 medium potato peeled and diced
- 5 cloves garlic peeled and diced
- 20 g butter
- 1 Tbsp all purpose flour
- 5 cups vegetable stock
- 150 ml cooking cream
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tsp freshly ground white pepper
- 1 Tbsp smoked paprika
- 1 tsp chilli powder
- 2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- In a large saucepan, add the vegetable stock, potato, and corn cobs.
- Bring the stock to a boil, then reduce to a high simmer.
- Cook for 10 minutes then turn off the heat.
- Remove the corn cobs and allow to cool until easy to handle.
- Cut the kernels from the cobs. Retain some intact kernels for a garnish.
- Return the corn cobs, without the kernels, to the stock. They still have lots of taste to extract.
- Bring the stock back to a high simmer, and simmer for 15 minutes.
- In another saucepan, melt the butter and sauté the onions and garlic until soft.
- Add the corn kernels and continue to sauté for 5 minutes.
- Stir in the flour and sauté for 2 or 3 minutes.
- Remove the corn cobs from the stock and discard.
- Slowly add the stock, which still has the potato in it, to the onion and kernels, stirring constantly.
- Add the salt and pepper.
- Simmer for 10 minutes.
- Use an immersion blender, or normal blender, to blend the kernels, potato, and stock to a smooth consistency.
- Strain the blended soup to remove any remaining solids. There will be some kernel skins that need to be removed so that the soup has a nice smooth consistency.
- Add the cream, then bring to a low simmer.
- Check and adjust seasoning.
- Mix the ingredients well
- Ladle the warm soup into bowls.
- Drizzle some of the paprika mixture over the soup.
- Carefully drop a piece of the intact corn kernels on top. Best do that at the table, as they may sink when you move the soup bowls.