I have been thinking about corn and crab soup for a while now, but haven't been able to find fresh crab meat anywhere. This has been driving me crazy, and making me want it even more! Finally I found some, and at $100/kg, had to make do with less than I had planned on using...but adding avocado solved that problem.
My initial idea for the soup came about because I found a bag of frozen corn, unopened, in the freezer and decided to use some of it up. By the time I actually got to make the soup I had some leftover mashed potato and Parmesan rinds to use as well.
Creamy, slightly spicy, with nice chunks of crab and avocado it was better than I had imagined it would be, and definitely took care of my craving!
Start off by roasting a jalapeno pepper over the flame of a gas burner.
Allow the skin to blacken and blister before turning it to do the next section.
When the whole pepper is black, place it into a small bowl, and cover tightly with plastic wrap.
This allows it to steam as it cools, which in turn helps to start lifting the charred skin away from the flesh of the jalapeno.
Cut the jalapeno in half lengthwise, and being very careful not to touch the seeds, scrape them out of the pepper and discard them.
Dice the pepper and set aside.
In a large heavy bottomed pot, heat a drizzle of olive oil and add:
2 cups frozen corn.
Cook, stirring occasionally, until the corn starts to caramelize.
Set aside 1/2 cup of corn.
1 medium onion, diced
2 medium carrots, diced
Cover the vegetables and cook on low heat until the carrots start to soften.
Season with salt and pepper.
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 of the jalapeno
3 sprigs of fresh thyme
Cook for a couple of minutes.
Along with some Parmesan rinds, add:
2 cups chicken stock
2 cups water
Bring the soup to a boil, and then simmer until the carrots are tender enough to squash with the back of a spoon.
2 cups of mashed potato
When the potato is well incorporated, remove the soup from the heat.
Puree and strain the soup, so that you have a thick, smooth liquid.
Return the soup to the heat, and add the reserved corn to the pot.
Adjust the thickness to your liking by adding milk to the soup.
Heat over a low heat until the soup is hot right through. Taste and adjust seasoning.
In a small bowl, combine:
100g of fresh crab meat, rinsed
1/2 avocado, diced
1 teaspoon chopped fresh chives
salt, pepper and lime juice to taste
Divide the crab and avocado mixture between 4 soup bowls, making a small mound in the centre of the bowl.
Carefully ladle the hot soup over the crab and avocado.
Garnish with some fresh chives and serve with
bread ( I made Focaccia with Caramelized Onion and Rosemary , using roasted garlic and chopped fresh basil instead of rosemary and onions).
- The jalapeno pepper can be roasted in the oven. Have the broiler pre-heated and very hot. Place the jalapeno pepper on a baking sheet and place it under the broiler, as close to the heat as possible. Keep an eye on the pepper, turning it as needed. Proceed as above by placing it into a bowl and covering it before peeling it.
- As jalapenos can have different heat intensities, it is important that you taste the pepper you are using before adding it to the soup. Adjust the amount accordingly, also keeping in mind how much heat you like in your food. My pepper was very hot, and some of us are not too partial to a lot of heat, so I used only a quarter of the pepper. Remember, it's always easier to add more than it is to take away the heat from adding too much!
- The heat in the jalapeno is from the capsaicin which is in the seeds, as well as the ribs of the peppers. If your skin comes into contact with this, it will burn! The best way to prevent this is to wear gloves while handling the peppers. The second best thing is to be very careful when handling the peppers, touching the seeds and ribs as little as possible and washing your hands very well with hot water and lots of soap immediately after.
- Cooking the corn first to caramelize it will emphasize the natural sweetness of the corn. If you have fresh corn on the cob, grill it instead, and when it is cool, remove the kernels from the cob and use them to make the soup.
- I used half chicken stock and half water as I had 2 cups of stock available. Only water, or vegetable stock can be used instead.
- Whipping cream can be used to replace the milk for a richer soup.
- Whole potatoes can be used if you have no leftover mashed potatoes. Peel and dice the potatoes and add them after the chicken stock starts to boil. Allow them to cook along with all the other vegetables, and then puree everything together. Use 1 - 2 potatoes, depending on the size.
- The crab can be omitted, or it can be replaced with shrimp, bacon or chicken.
- The soup can be made ahead and kept in a sealed container in the fridge for a couple of days. It can also be frozen.