A Squared: What's for Dinner Wednesday: Summer Sweet Corn & Tomato Bisque

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

What's for Dinner Wednesday: Summer Sweet Corn & Tomato Bisque

I know that soup isn't the most summery dish that you could probably think of, but after a trip to the farmer's market on an unseasonably chilly Saturday it just seemed appropriate. I picked up tons of great veggies there, including fresh local sweet corn. And a lot of it. So, I knew I needed to find some creative way to use it up. What better way to use it all on a chilly weekend than to turn it into a creamy bisque?

This bisque is chock full of vegetables and has a really nice flavor-- the corn and peppers keep it sweet against the salty smokiness of the pancetta, fire roasted tomatoes, and the heat of the red pepper flakes. Because of its sweetness, I garnished the bisque with salty Pecorino Romano and some fresh Italian parsley.

We're headed off for a long weekend in northern Michigan tomorrow (yay!), so tonight we're busy packing. I made this bisque ahead of time and served it for dinner tonight. It's a perfect make ahead meal for a night like this. I even froze the leftovers for later.

  • 3 oz. pancetta, diced
  • 1 Tbs. canola oil
  • 1 Tbs. extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 medium yellow onion, diced
  • 3 carrots, peeled and diced
  • 1 large red bell pepper, cored, seeded, diced
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 cup dry white wine
  • Sweet corn kernels from 6 ears of corn, cut and uncooked
  • 2 1/2 cups 2% milk
  • 1 Tbs. fresh thyme leaves, chopped
  • 1/2 tsp. red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 tsp. Kosher salt
  • 1/4 tsp. ground black pepper
  • 1 dry bay leaf
  • 1 14.5 oz. can fire roasted diced tomatoes, with juices
  • Grated Pecorino Romano, for serving

Heat a large dutch oven medium heat. Add diced pancetta and cook for 6-8 minutes, stirring occasionally. Once browned and crispy, remove from pot with a slotted spoon and transfer to a paper towel-lined plate for draining.

Pour both oils into the pan and swirl to coat. Add onion, carrots, and bell pepper and saute until the vegetables begin to soften, stirring frequently. Add garlic and cook for an additional 3 minutes, stirring frequently to prevent garlic from sticking. Carefully pour in the wine and scrape up any browned bits at the bottom of the pan. Continue simmering until wine is reduced by about half.

Add corn and next 7 ingredients through tomatoes to the pot. Stir to combine. Cover and simmer for 15 minutes. Remove lid and allow the soup to simmer uncovered for an additional 5-6 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Remove the pot from heat and discard the bay leaf. Ladle 1-2 cups of the soup out of the pot and set aside. This all depends on how chunky or smooth you like your soup. I prefer it chunkier and would ladle out 2 cups. Using an immersion blender, puree the soup in the pot until smooth. Add the reserved 1-2 cups back into the pot and stir to incorporate. Return to heat and cook for an additional 5 minutes or until ready to serve.

Serve hot with grated cheese on top.

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