Last night, my cousin sent me a photo of a restaurant menu board and asked me if I had a recipe for the dish. The board said, “corn and chili bisque ~ southwest spices with plump corn kernels, jalapenos, mild green chilies and tomatillos in a creamy, golden vegetarian broth with garlic and cilantro.”
Not only did I not have a recipe, I’ve never even made a bisque before. So I was up for the challenge. She didn’t know what restaurant she ate at, but after a quick google search, I think it was Au Bon Pain. Their site is great. They give full nutritional information for their menu items, including a list of ingredients. Although most of the ingredients were listed on the menu board, it left out a couple of key ingredients like tomatoes and sugar.
The one thing I noticed about the ingredient list though is that it was full of added stuff, implying that they used canned chilies, tomatoes and tomatillos. If you want to make this soup in a hurry, you could use canned veggies and frozen corn, but it turned out great using fresh ingredients.
One more very important tip: I thought I would puree this in the blender in batches. Well, the soup is really hot…I know what you master chefs are thinking, “She blew the top off from the build-up of steam.” Nope, I remembered to loosen the center cap. Instead, the soup was so hot that the blades heated up too much and melted the plastic part on the base that spins the blade.
I was going to finish pureeing the soup into my food processor, but after a quick post on facebook, my food friends recommended an immersion blender. But of course! I just bought one of those a couple of months ago. I’ve just never used it for soup. It’s so much better than a blender. You can puree the ingredients right in the pot, less dishes, less mess. That’s what great about experimenting. I’m always learning new tips and techniques.
This was a fun challenge, resulting in a creamy soup full of fresh summer flavors with a zest of the Southwest, and the longer the soup sits, the better it tastes. Bon appétit!
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 jalapeno, minced
- 2 Anaheim peppers, minced (or 1 4-oz. can green chilies)
- 1/2 red bell pepper, minced
- 1/4 large onion, diced
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 6-oz. can tomato paste
- 2 tomatillos, diced (or 1 28-oz. can tomatillos)
- 2 Roma tomatoes, diced (or 1 14.5-oz. can diced tomatoes)
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 8 cups (10 ears) of corn (or frozen)
- 1 tsp. cumin
- 1 tsp. smoked paprika
- 2 tsp. kosher salt
- 1 tsp. black pepper
- 32-oz. vegetable stock
- 1/4 cup cilantro leaves, chopped
- 8 oz. cream
- juice of 1 lime
In a large soup pot, melt the butter and olive oil together over medium heat. Sauté the peppers and onions, about 3 minutes. Stir in the garlic and tomato paste. Add the tomatillos, tomatoes and sugar and sauté for about 3 minutes.
Add 6 cups of corn into the pot along with spices. Sauté for 2 minutes. Add the vegetable stock and cilantro. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer for 30 minutes.
After the flavors have married, puree with an immersion blender.
Stir in the cream. Stir in the lime juice. Add the remaining 2 cups of corn. Heat for about 5 minutes.
To serve, ladle the soup into a bowl and garnish with tortilla strips or a crushed tortilla chip and a cilantro leaf.