I grew up in Nebraska, the Cornhusker state, so fresh sweet corn was a staple at nearly every August meal. Farmer’s markets weren’t all the rage back then. If you wanted sweet corn, you drove to a handful of locations around town and found the farmer who was selling it from the back of his or her pickup truck that day. It doesn’t get much fresher than that! But even a diehard corn lover can only eat corn on the cob for so long before needing to shake it up. This Sweet Corn and Squash Soup with Crispy Pancetta is a great way to enjoy sweet corn’s just-picked flavor (without having to floss after every meal!)
Just a handful of fresh ingredients comprise this mild-tasting soup, and keeping it simple really allows the fresh flavors to shine through. Once the veggies have cooked, a quick spin through the blender creates a super smooth, almost silky soup. I personally like to give my soup a little more substance, so I garnished the bowl with some diced crispy pancetta. Having that bite of salty crunch made this soup feel more like a meal than an appetizer. If your corn is really sweet, sprinkle some chives on top. The garlicky flavor cuts the sweetness just enough to achieve that ideal sweet-savory balance. And it just looks pretty, too! This soup freezes very well, so make a double batch and enjoy the flavor of fresh August sweet corn well into the fall.
Kernals cut from 4 large ears of fresh sweet corn (about 4 cups)
1½ cups water
1½ cups milk (I used 1% because that’s what we keep in the house)
2 cups chopped yellow squash
½ teaspoon kosher salt
½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Chopped fresh chives, optional
Place oil and pancetta in a small skillet and cook over medium to medium-low heat until crispy, about 10 – 15 minutes. Set aside on a paper towel to drain.
Meanwhile, melt butter over medium low heat in a dutch oven. Add onion to the pan and cook until onion is translucent, about 8-10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add corn, water, milk, squash, salt and pepper to the pan and stir to combine. Bring soup to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for 15 minutes. Allow soup to cool for 20 minutes before next step.
When soup has cooled slightly, place soup, 2 cups at a time, in a blender. Hot soup can blow the lid off your blender, so don’t overfill your blender and make sure you secure the lid firmly. Place a kitchen towel over the lid and blend until smooth. Place a fine mesh sieve over a bowl and pour the soup through the sieve into the bowl. Rinse solids from sieve and repeat blending and straining process with the remaining soup.
Ladle soup into bowls and garnish with cooked pancetta and fresh chives.
If you have a top-shelf blender like a Blendtec or Vitamix, there will be no need to strain the soup after blending it smooth.