Sweet Corn Bisque – a Bowl Full of Summer

Cheery sweet corn bisque is the essence of summer – all that golden sunshine collected in a bowl.

pot and bowls of sweet corn bisque

I’m a garden eater.

I love munching on fresh garden peas, and popping sun-ripe cherry tomatoes in my mouth as I stroll the rows in my garden. I love pulling a young sweet carrot, wiping the dirt on my jeans, and crunching it as I walk. I love nibbling on fresh basil leaves and dill fronds, and stuffing lettuce leaves into my cheeks to chew. I even love snapping off young beans or zucchini to gnaw on.

the late summer garden

the late summer garden – corn is ripe, apple trees are loaded, weeds are in their glory

But my absolute favourite garden treat comes in late summer, when the corn is finally ripe. I wait and watch for those silks to turn brown. I feel the cobs, looking for heft and solidity. As soon as I find a cob that’s filling out nicely, I break it from the stalk and peel back the husk. I pull off the silk and greedily bite into the crisp, milky kernels. The sweet juices of the corn sometimes squirt as I chomp, and I am not delicate as I work my way around the cob like a hungry beaver. There are sticky bits of corn on my face, but I am grinning with pleasure.

If you’ve never eaten a raw cob of corn fresh from the garden, you need to try it some day.

It’s the taste of summer.

corn is ready to pick ripe ears of sweet corn

And if you can’t get to a garden, a bowl of this sweet corn bisque is the next best thing.

single bowl of sweet corn bisque

It’s simple and pure – just fresh corn and a few other ingredients. You cook the cobs along with the soup to get even more intense corn flavour. The bisque is velvety smooth and creamy, with little pops of corn kernels to please your tongue and give each spoonful some texture.

Before I had a garden, I used to buy a sack or two of fresh corn every fall. I’d cook up a big vat of this soup (in my enamel canning pot) and freeze it in containers to pull out on grey winter days when we needed a reminder of the summer’s glory.

Having frozen blocks of this soup in the freezer is better than a stash of gold bullion in the bank.

* * * * *

sweet corn bisque, bowl

Sweet Corn Bisque

  • 5 large ears of fresh, sweet corn, husked
  • 2 tablespoons oil
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 1 carrot, finely diced
  • 1 stalk celery, finely diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • ½ teaspoon turmeric
  • ½ teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 4 cups (1 litre) water
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon white pepper
  • chopped green onions, chives, or cilantro/coriander leaves for garnish, optional

Cut the kernels from the raw cobs of corn with a sharp knife. It works well to place a cutting board in a rimmed cookie sheet to catch the kernels. (Don’t worry if you don’t get all the kernels – you’ll scrape the cobs later.) Set aside.

cutting the corn kernels from the cob

In a large soup pot or dutch oven, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the onion, carrot, celery, and garlic. Cook, stirring often, for about two minutes, until translucent. Add the turmeric and coriander and cook for one more minute.

Add the bay leaf and water, then add the corn kernels and the cobs. Break the cobs in half if needed to fit into the pot. Bring the soup to a boil, then reduce the heat to a simmer. Cover and simmer for 15 minutes.

Use tongs to remove the cobs from the soup. Set them on the cutting board to cool slightly. Scoop one cup of the cooked corn kernels from the soup and set them aside. Remove the bay leaf.

Scrape the cobs to get all the last bits of corn and the sweet hearts from each kernel. Return all the scrapings to the soup, and discard the cobs.

In a blender or food processor, puree the soup in batches until it is smooth and creamy, or use an immersion blender in the pot.

Return the blended soup to the pot, and add the reserved corn kernels, salt, and white pepper.

Serve hot or cold.

Serves 4 to 6.

*This soup freezes well.

Guten Appetit!


You might also like:


Creamy Roasted Root Vegetable Soup

Russian Borscht

Garlic Lentil Soup

a whole lot of cobs

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6 Responses to Sweet Corn Bisque – a Bowl Full of Summer

  1. You area garden eater, are you? 🙂
    Fantastic writing… the paragraph about you eating that fresh cob of corn had me right there with you, offering you a little dental floss and a facecloth! XO
    I am definitely making this soup, Margaret. I love corn too and this cold day BEGS for one last BOWL of summer.

    • Margaret says:

      Yes, my secret is out – and I’m afraid my manners totally desert me when I’m garden eating! That dental floss and facecloth sound like just what I need. Thanks, Valerie, for providing me with a smile this morning. This rainy day needs it 🙂

  2. This soup makes me so sad that my corn growing project this summer was unsuccessful. I think I’ll need to head to the market to get some nice fresh corn so I can enjoy this. It looks so beautiful and cheerful and the perfect soup to transition into fall.

    • Margaret says:

      Corn can be a real prima donna to grow can’t it? I’ve had problems with it in the past, too, but this year I had a bumper crop of large, sweet corn cobs. Thanks for visiting my site – wishing you a wonderful Fall with warm and lovely harvest meals!

  3. EL says:

    This is so yum! I’m happy that it doesn’t have potato like most corn chowder recipes. Keeps it nice and light for a hot summer day (I’m in the Southern Hemisphere.)

    • Margaret says:

      Hello to the sunny south! How great that you can be enjoying summer and garden vegetables right now – and fresh corn! It’s such a delicious vegetable, and I do love it in this chowder, too. Thanks for stopping by! 🙂

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