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Roasted Corn and Sweet Pepper Soup

From Thanksgiving  2002:  I was assigned to bring something with corn in it...

Serves 6-8

10 ears corn on cob

2 onions, coarsely sliced
1 stick cinnamon
1 chipotle chili

6 red bell peppers, seeded and chopped
8 pimento peppers, seeded and chopped
3 medium hot red peppers, seeded and chopped, or to taste
1 onion, chopped

2 inches vanilla bean

2 oz pine nuts

salt to taste

Optional:  6 oz fresh goat cheese, crème-fraiche, sour cream, or 3 oz cream cheese

In large nonstick or well seasoned cast iron frying pan, “roast” the shucked ears of corn:  with pan on medium high heat, lay ears down, and turn when the surface gets browned or slightly blackened.  Rotate until all sides of the ear are similarly browned.  Then cut the kernels from the cobs, scrape the cobs to get all the corn milk and germ, and set the kernels aside.

Add the cobs,  sliced onions and 1 stick cinnamon to a 6 quart or larger pressure cooker or stockpot.  Add a pinch of salt and cold water to cover bring to a boil; if using pressure cooker, cook at 15 lb pressure for 25 minutes; in stockpot, keep at a gentle boil for1-2 hrs, then strain and reserve the corn stock. 

Add the corn kernels back to the nonstick pan over medium high heat, and cook, stirring frequently, until the corn begins to smell roasted rather than just sweet.  Remove the corn to a large bowl.

In the same pan, add the sweet and hot peppers, and cook until they begin to brown or blacken slightly, and smell roasted/sweet.  Add to the corn in the bowl.  Repeat with the onions over medium to low heat, together with a pinch of salt.  Repeat with the pine nuts but set aside separately from the vegetables.

In the same pan, or a medium stockpot, combine the stock, corn, peppers, onions, and vanilla.  Heat to a simmer, until the vegetables are done to your preference.  Gently stir in the cheese or cream but do not allow it to boil.  Correct salt to taste.  Garnish with the toasted pine nuts and serve.

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