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Corn Cob Soup

Adapted from Food and Wine 1989

Ingredients
12 ears of fresh corn
2 pounds smoked ham hocks
2 large carrots
4 large celery ribs, chopped
1 large bay leaf
6 sprigs of parsley
2 Tbsp safflower or corn oil
2 Tbsp all-purpose flour
6 scallions, chopped (about 1 cup)
5 large shallots, chopped
1 large red bell pepper, chopped
2 pounds ripe tomatoes – peeled, seeded and chopped
¾ tsp salt
¾ tsp white pepper
1 tsp paprika

Instructions
Remove corn kernels from cobs. Scrape cobs with the dull side of the knife to press out the juices, collect corn “milk” in a bowl with kernels and set aside. Break the corn cobs in half.

Combine corncobs, ham hocks, carrots, celery, bay leaf, parsley and 10 cups of water in a large sauce pan. Place saucepan over high heat and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer for 2 hours. Strain stock and skim fat. Discard solids. Stock should amount to 6 cups. Boil to reduce if necessary.

Blend oil and flour in a large saucepan. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly for 2 minutes until golden brown. Add scallions, shallots and red pepper to sauce pan. Continue to cook and stir frequently for 3 minutes until vegetables are tender. Poor in stock and add garlic and tomatoes. Bring to a boil and then reduce heat to low. Simmer soup for 30 minutes. Skim occasionally.

Strain soup into a separate sauce pan. Place vegetables in a food processor and puree for 1 minute. Combine pureed vegetables and stock into one of the saucepans and add corn kernels and milk. Add salt pepper and paprika to taste. Simmer for five minutes. Serve hot garnished with a sprig of parsley and a dash of paprika.