Corn and pepper soup

This is my go-to summer corn soup. It has a lot going on: sweet, salty, creamy and crunchy. The key is roasting the corn and the peppers over your stove's burner. It might sound a bit scary at first, but it's no more complicated than burning your food (on purpose this time) over the burners. You will totally char the skin of the peppers from top to bottom, but for the corn, try to char 50 percent of it at most. A little more or less won't affect the final product too much, so don't get too fussy. The addition of cheese and tortilla chips at the end will add salt, so be sure to add 1-2 more teaspoons of salt if you are not adding them at the end.

Makes: 8 servings

1/2 stick of butter

1/2 teaspoon cumin powder

1/2 teaspoon coriander powder

1 medium onion, medium dice

4 Anaheim peppers

2 poblano peppers

5 ears of sweet corn

3 cups of milk

3 cups of chicken stock (you can use vegetable)

2 sprigs of fresh oregano, chopped

1 small bunch of thyme, chopped (approximately 1 tablespoon)

2 teaspoons kosher salt

Tortilla chips, crushed

Shredded cheddar cheese

Over an open burner on high heat, char the corn and set aside to cool. Set the peppers over the open burner and char black all over. Place the peppers into a plastic zip-top bag to steam out and cool for at least 10 minutes. Cut the kernels off of the corn and set aside. Take the peppers out of the bag and peel the charred skin as much as possible. Remove the seeds and stem. Chop the peppers into a small dice. In a large pot over high heat, melt the butter until it starts to brown and add the onion. Once the onion starts to become translucent, add the roasted peppers, corn, cumin powder, coriander powder, oregano, thyme and salt. Pour the stock and milk over the corn mixture and stir to combine. Turn the heat down to medium, and heat the soup for 10 minutes, but do not bring to a boil. Serve in a bowl topped with crushed tortilla chips and shredded cheddar cheese.

Tip: For a thicker soup, puree 2 cups of the soup and return it to the hot soup and bring to almost a simmer. The pureed corn will thicken the soup.

Photo and styling by John Houser III, Special to The Baltimore Sun
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