Jay's Corn Pepper BBQ Soup


We love to barbecue corn on the cob, and while eating it one night it occurred to me what a great soup it might make.

Serves 5-6

6 ears of sweet yellow corn
3 large or 2 enormous red bell peppers
2 large onions, peeled and finely chopped 
4 stalks celery, finely chopped

4 Tbsp. unsalted butter plus more butter to baste the corn while it barbecues

4 Tbsp. flour

1 pint half and half
1 pint milk
1 pint chicken stock

salt, white pepper, cayenne pepper

Start by grilling the corn and the red bell peppers on the barbecue.  The corn should be basted with melted butter while it cooks, and the aim is to cook it until it is tender and soft with some black streaks on it.  But try not to totally dry it out or turn it completely black. 

The peppers, on the other hand, should be cooked whole and dry, and turned frequently over the hottest part of the grill until they are as black as you can make them, which will allow you to peel them easily after they cool.  Once the skins are blackened, removed them.

In a 6 qt. saucepan, sauté the finely chopped onions and celery in 4 Tbsp. sweet butter, trying not to brown them, just soften and clarify.

Add the flour and stir for 2 minutes to cook, then gradually stir in the liquids.

Peel the red bell peppers, remove the seeds and ribs, and chop the flesh finely.  Add to the saucepan.

Remove the corn from the cobs with a small knife, and add to the saucepan.

Using an immersion blender, purée the soup.  It's not necessary, or even possible, to make it totally smooth.  I like to keep some of the corn kernels out and add them after puréeing to give texture to the soup.  The soup will be a salmon pinkish color from the red peppers and the corn, with tiny flecks of black from the barbecue.

Add 1/2 tsp. salt, 1/4 tsp. white pepper, and a pinch of cayenne pepper, then adjust seasonings to taste.  Before serving, adjust the thickness with more liquid or more flour (use Wondra at that point if necessary).  You can stir in another Tbsp, of butter just before serving if you wish,

Garnish the soup in the bowl with a small dollop of sour cream and sprinkle of chopped fresh parsley.