Jamaican Sweetcorn Soup

August 30, 2010


Corn Soup

It’s the end of the summer and the corn is going cheap. I bought four cobs for a quid in Peckham yesterday and a frankly quite staggering twelve red peppers for the same. Twelve. Not joking.

This soup only uses one you’ll be pleased to know, along with two cobs and some classic Caribbean flavours: thyme, scotch bonnet chilli and coconut. It’s a hearty mix, thickened with yellow split peas and potato but my version is light compared with other recipes which use pumpkin or squash and other vegetables. I prefer a fresher version which keeps the focus on the juicy bursts of corn. I strip one cob and slice the other so I’m not denied the pleasure of gnawing on it.

The scotch bonnet chilli is left whole and slit lengthways to release just moderate fruity heat and the creamy coconut milk smooths things over. It tastes tropical and most importantly, it celebrates the corn. At that price, it would be rude not to.

Jamaican Sweetcorn Soup

1 large onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 scotch bonnet chilli
150g yellow split peas
1 litre stock (I used vegetable)
400ml tin of coconut milk
2 sprigs of thyme
2 cobs corn
1 red pepper, diced
1 large potato, diced

Heat a couple of tablespoons of vegetable or groundnut oil in a pan and add the onion. Let it sweat over a lowish heat for about 8 minutes then add the garlic for a couple of minutes more, taking care not to let it burn. Make a cut down the length of the chilli, but keep it intact and add it to the pan with the split peas, thyme and stock – simmer for 30 minutes.

Prepare the corn by shaving the kernels from one of the cobs, running your knife down the sides, top to bottom. Slice the other one into 2cm thick slices (I nicked that idea from this recipe recently. I also nicked their presentation). Add the corn, coconut milk and potato and simmer for 10-15 minutes. Add the red pepper for the final 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.

Allow the soup to cool a little then remove the chilli, thyme and corn slices (reserve the corn slices) and blend half the soup. If it is still quite hot then make sure not to fill the blender more than half way and hold the lid down because if you don’t you will end up with soup all over your kitchen. It will blast the lid off the blender. Return to the pan and add back the corn slices. Reheat if necessary, adjust the seasoning and serve.

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  • Avatar
    Reply Anne August 30, 2010 at 7:21 pm

    This sounds, and looks, delicious. Think I might make it to take to work this week – think I’ll need heating up, its getting chilly out!

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    Reply nina August 30, 2010 at 8:10 pm

    Love the siplicity of this dish and the whole rings or corn is so beautiful in that rustic soup!

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    Reply shayma August 30, 2010 at 8:14 pm

    oh. my. god. first, Lizzie, and now you- the luscious corn porn- i love it. beautiful flavours, i can just taste this. x shayma

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    Reply Anh August 30, 2010 at 11:56 pm

    Just wonderful!! I love this recipe already! Can’t wait to try.

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    Reply The Shed August 31, 2010 at 8:47 am

    Tonight’s dinner now sorted: perfect post-long-boozy-weekend nourishment.

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    Reply Kerri August 31, 2010 at 1:46 pm

    Great idea, I like that you left some whole pieces of corn in there too.

    I have that exact tea-towel, if I get round to cooking this then maybe I’ll try to recreate your picture 🙂

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    Reply KSalty August 31, 2010 at 4:54 pm

    An excellently thrify and warming soup? It must be the end of summer! Roll on the autumn cooking, made my first crumble of ’10 yesterday…

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    Reply Gourmet Chick August 31, 2010 at 6:37 pm

    Good to see you managed to incorporate your favourite scotch bonnets into even a soup Helen -very impressive!

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    Reply Lizzie August 31, 2010 at 9:41 pm

    it looks lovely. I have a huge addiction to corn at the moment, though I doubt I have a knife sharp enough to slice them like you have. Guaranteed some bashing and spraying of the kitchen in corn viscera…

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    Reply Jonathan August 31, 2010 at 11:55 pm

    Sounds delicious. Well done Peckham market. And love the expression “corn porn”!

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    Reply Jenn AKA The Leftover Queen September 1, 2010 at 4:33 am

    Sounds great corn and coconut sound like a good combination!

  • Avatar
    Reply Helen September 2, 2010 at 2:52 pm

    I made a batch of this the other night. I think I’m in love.

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    Reply Tv Food and Drink September 6, 2010 at 2:46 am

    Yummy. I love anything with a scotch bonnet. That says true Jamaica to me. Thanks for the recipe! – Gary

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    Reply Andrew Copley September 14, 2012 at 11:28 am

    I made this last night; it was very nice; the background scotch bonnet flavour was just right and the texture was bang-on.

    I’m cooking a West Indian feast for 8 on Saturday (using your recipes):

    Salt Fish Fritters

    Oxtail and Guiness Stew
    Jerk Chicken on the Weber BBQ (a guaranteed winner)
    Rice n Peas

    I’ll let you know how it goes. I love the fact that you also have a passion for West Indian food. When it’s done well it is, for me the ultimate comfort food.

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