Friday, May 20, 2011

Sweet Corn and Basil Soup- Hall of Fame

Confession: I've never actually cooked this soup. But I've eaten it many, many times. My husband has taken this on as the only soup he cooks. I initially ate this soup back in the late 90s in that fabulous few years of full-time wage before child, when we could eat out at fancy restaurants with ease. I remember a wonderful evening at the now defunct central Sydney restaurant Banc. It was served there as an amuse geule. And it was astonishing. It can apparently be served warm or cold, but I've only had it warm, so will have to try it cold sometime. We love this soup so much we bought little cups just to serve it in. Now that's devotion.

We bought the Banc cookbook solely to get access to this recipe. It remains the only recipe we have used from the book, which is filled with time-consuming restauranty recipes for delicious things that aren't quite right for family dinners. In the recipe introduction they say they were often asked for seconds or an entree sized portion by enthusiastic diners.

Sweet Corn and Basil Soup

Serves 4 (makes 1 litre or 1 3/4 pints)
4 fresh corn cobs
200g (8 oz) diced onions
50mL (3 1/2 tbsps) cream
50gm (2 oz) diced butter
1 small bunch fresh basil
salt and freshly ground pepper

The stock.

Peel and remove all the outer leaves and stalk form the cobs. Using a knife, remove all the corn kernels from the cobs and reserve, and then cut the cobs in half.

In a heavy-based pan melt half the butter and add half of the diced onion. Sweat the onion for 5 minutes on a medium heat without allowing it to colour. Add the cobs and a good pinch of salt and cook for a further 5 minutes without browning. Add 1/5 litres (2 1/2 pints) of water and bring to the boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 30 minutes. Remove from the heat and allow the stock to infuse for a further 30 minutes before passing it through a fine sieve, discarding the cobs and onions.

The soup.

The spattered picture in the book

In a heavy based pan melt the remaining butter and add the remaining diced onion. Sweat the onion for 5 minutes on a medium heat without allowing it to colour. Add the corn kernels and a good pinch of salt and continue to cook for a further 5 minutes. Add the corn stock and simmer for 20-25 minutes until the corn kernels are tender. Pour in the cream and continue to cook for 5 more minutes.

Remove from heat and blend the soup in a blender until smooth. Add roughly chopped basil, and season with salt and freshly ground pepper.

Leave the soup for an hour, or even overnight to allow the flavours to infuse, before passing the soup through a fine sieve, pressing hard on the corn to extract as much flavour as possible. Taste-check the seasoning once again. Serve either hot or chilled.

This post is linked to Weekend Cooking, a fabulous weekly meme at Beth Fish Reads.


  1. I love corn soup! Don't think I've seen it with basil before, but it sounds really good. Will try the recipe when fresh sweet corn is available.

  2. We love corn soup, this looks fantastic! Definitely going to try it, should be seeing fresh corn soon enough!

  3. That looks yummy -- I have a few books that I keep around for one recipe, and that one definitely looks like it was worth it!

  4. I will definitely save this and make it. I'll leave out the cream though. I've never heard of using cobs, but it will be fun to try.

  5. I have a simple but very good soup up this week too!

  6. This looks and sounds delicious. I've never read a recipe that uses corn cobs but it makes sense that they would add flavor.

  7. Sounds very tasty. If it weren't raining so much, our farmers could get out in their fields and plant the corn.

  8. Sounds good. We love anything with corn in it!

    Here's my WC

  9. I love corn chowder/soup but I've never added basil. I'll have to try this as I do love the taste of basil.

  10. Wow, that sounds like a terrific summer recipe. I would never have thought about basil in corn soup but I can see how it would work.

  11. Thanks everyone for stopping by and commenting. Good to see so many corn soup lovers out there. I hope some of you get to try it, I certainly hope you love it as much as I do.

  12. I love corn soup too and this one looks fabulous

  13. sounds super - and we have sweet corn and basil in our weekly CSA these days.

    Do you think it's really necessary to press it through a sieve at the end? I wonder how it would be simply blended, then the basil added?

  14. Banc - what a wonderful place it was - tall ceilings, a enormous gilt mirror, the high back seats or the comfey blanquette, the fiery head chef Liam Tomlin who had a 5 o'clock shadow at 9 in the morning and scared me as a diner so I shuddered to think of standing station with him at my shoulder. But always it began with the white china tea-cup of corn & basil soup and for me ended with the arrival of the magnificent cheese trolley. Thanks for posting this - I need to find a copy of the cookbook.

  15. PS Dawn - try making it before u breaking it :-)