The other day I bought some corn intending to eat it plain and simple, straight off the cob. Then a distant memory of seeing someone make corn stock got stuck in my head and I decided I needed to make some corn soup. I have no idea where I heard of the idea of making corn stock but from what I remembered you just boiled the cobs in some water and you had a nice flavorful stock. It seemed easy enough and even if it didn’t work I would have tons of corn kernels ready to eat however I wanted. I really liked the idea of actually using the cobs, which I have only ever thrown out.
In the past, when I’ve made homemade stocks I am always disappointed by the lack of flavor and general wateriness of the final product. I always find myself adding powdered vegetable bouillon to up the flavor. Well, who knew? Corn stock to the rescue! I was super surprised at how much flavor the corn cobs gave to the water. About midway through, I thought to myself how silly it was not to boil the cobs with some other spices or flavoring but it turns out that it doesn’t need it at all. After boiling your cobs for 1 hour and 45 minutes, you will have a bright yellow, sweet stock that tastes just like corn.
Since I was making corn soup and was determined to make it into a complete meal (albeit a light one), I wanted to add something of some substance to it. The first thing I thought of was crab. When I was a kid and we used to eat Chinese food, I always got crab and corn soup. In more recent years, I haven’t really eaten it since it was usually full of cornstarch and very goopy- blegh. Regardless, the pairing of crab and corn seemed pretty natural and it would certainly make it a special dinner.
The resulting soup is super sweet, fresh and has such a strong, clear corn flavor. The crab and avocado topping is delicious and can easily be eaten on crackers (or alone!) for a delicious midday snack.
Without the chilli powder and enough salt and pepper this soup is way too sweet, so if you are finding that the sweetness is overpowering, try adding some additional chilli powder, it doesn't add too much heat, just a complexity of flavor to the soup.
Strip corn cobs of their kernels and set kernels aside in a small bowl.
Cut the cobs in half so that they can fit in a small pot (make a small cut and then just break it in half, you don't have to saw through the entire cob). Put the corn cobs in the pot and add 4 cups of water (cobs should just be covered with water). Simmer covered for about an hour and forty five minutes. Strain stock. You will have about 3 cups of stock.
In a small pot, heat up one tablespoon of olive oil. Saute onion, garlic, salt, pepper and chilli powder until softened (3-4 minutes). Add 3/4s of your corn kernels (about 3 cups out of 4 cups) and saute until softened (3-4 minutes).
Add corn stock and bring to a simmer. Simmer covered for 20 minutes.
Using an immersion blender, blend soup to desired consistency (I left a few chunks).
In a dry sauce pan on medium-high heat make sure corn is in a single layer. Do not stir the corn and wait until it starts to pop and blacken. Season with a bit of salt, pepper, and additional chilli powder. Remove from heat and stir in avocado and crab.
Top each bowl of soup with a few spoonfuls of the crab mixture.