Chef Lisa Schroeder, Mother's Bistro & Bar/Mama Mia Trattoria, Portland, OR
Makes about 4 quarts; 8 (2-cup) servings
Perfect for summer when corn is bountiful. This is an incredibly rich soup, both in flavor and texture because it's loaded with sweet, fresh corn and scads of cream. Eating it is definitely a guilty pleasure. Be sure to use the freshest corn at its peak of sweetness and simmer the cobs in the cream to infuse it with every last bit of the corn's flavor. If freezing this soup, be sure to let it thaw in the refrigerator completely before reheating. Otherwise it might end up looking curdled rather than creamy.
4 T (1/2 stick) unsalted butter
8 Leeks, washed, white part only, cut into ½ in slices (about 6 cups; Love Note)
4 Medium yellow onions, thinly sliced (about 4 cups)
7 cups Fresh corn kernels, cobs reserved (about 5 ears)
1 cup Chicken stock, vegetable broth or canned low-sodium broth
11 cups (2 ¾ quarts) heavy cream
2 ½ tsp Salt
3/4 tsp Freshly ground black pepper
1 Small bunch chives, finely chopped
1. Heat a large, heavy 8- to 10- quart stockpot over medium-high heat. When hot, add the butter, leeks and onion and cook until limp, stirring occasionally, about 8 minutes. (If they start to brown, lower the heat. The vegetables should not have any color.)
2. Meanwhile, in a separate large pot, heat the cream with the reserved corn cobs (you can break the cobs in half with your hands to help them fit into the pot). Bring to a boil; reduce heat to a simmer and cook, covered, for 15 minutes.
3. Add corn kernels to the leek mixture and cook for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
4. Add the stock and cook until the vegetables are very soft, stirring occasionally, about 45 minutes.
5. Using tongs, remove cobs from cream and discard. Add the corn-infused cream to the vegetables. Simmer for 15 minutes to meld the flavors.
6. Remove soup from the heat and purée until smooth with an immersion blender, in batches in a blender or food processor, or run through a food mill. Strain soup through a fine-mesh strainer set over another clean pot. Using a rubber spatula press as much liquid out of the vegetables as possible.
7. Taste and season with salt and pepper, return soup to a simmer over very low heat, and serve topped with chopped chives, if desired.
Leeks are often full of sand, and the best way to wash them is to slice them first. Cut off the tough green part and reserve it for stock or discard. Cut the white part in half lengthwise and then slice into half moons.
Place slices in a bowl or the bowl (fitted with the basket) of a salad spinner. Fill with fresh, cold water and swirl around to release all the dirt, sand and debris.
Lift leeks out of water (you don’t want to pour them out with the water or the dirt and debris will fall right back onto the leeks) and into a colander or sieve to drain. Or simply lift the salad spinner basket out of the bowl, pour out the water, and set the basket back in the bowl to spin dry.