Summer Corn and Ham Soup
A lovely night was had by all at our Annual Wine in the Vineyard event! During set up on Wednesday, it was so hot our plastic cups melted but just like clockwork, the breeze kicked in and cooled off the orchard and vineyard as the wagons pulled up to the house. Our guests enjoyed a lovely evening of dining and sipping on the farm adjacent to our Chambourcin vines.
As I have mentioned before, this wine class is one of my absolute favorites of the year. Our guests treasure the opportunity to ride the wagons with a glass of wine in hand! And my family just loves hosting people who are passionate about wine and food pairings. We had five well-received courses and it was fun to show everyone how well summer wines pair with our farm produce.
One of the favorite pairings of the night was this recipe for Summer Corn and Ham Soup with a Pinot Noir from Willamette Valley, Oregon. I promised our guests that I would put the recipe up on the blog this week, so here it is!
I have three tips to share that will make preparing this recipe a little quicker and more flavorful. First of all, a speedy way to husk & cook corn is to microwave it for two minutes an ear in the husk. Once heated by the microwave, the moisture in the husks helps to peel off the silks easily as you shuck the corn. Next, I rest the shucked cob on a small bowl inside of a larger bowl and use a chef’s knife to cut the kernels away from the cob. The corn falls into the bowl instead of going flying across the room. Genius!
Tip number two is geared towards cooking with thyme. Harvest a 3-4” piece of thyme stem. Rinse it with water before placing the whole stem in the pot. When you get to the end of the cooking time, remove the thyme stem and you will notice all the leaves have fallen off the stem into the soup. This is a great way to avoid having to de-stem tiny thyme leaves.
And last but not least, you will notice we call for the ham to be browned in the skillet in the directions below. This is in effort to amp up the ham flavors before adding it to the soup. If you are in a hurry, no worries, just skip this step and your soup will still be yummy.
We served this soup at room temperature and it was both refreshing and tasty. It is a terrific way to feature homegrown corn, garlic, herbs and onions. I hope you will give it a try and that you will enjoy it as much as our guests did!!
Eat well this summer,
Summer Corn and Ham Soup
3 Tbsp. olive oil
2 large onions, peeled and small diced (about 3 cups)
Freshly ground black pepper
About 5 to 6 ounces bone in ham steak
3 large garlic cloves, peeled and minced (about 1 tablespoon)
2 tsp. fresh thyme leaves or 1 tsp. dried thyme
¼ to ½ tsp. red chile pepper flakes
4 ears sweet corn, kernels cut off cob (about 2 cups), cobs reserved
1 medium washed unpeeled yellow potato, medium dice (about 1 cup)
4 cups unsalted chicken or vegetable stock
1 oz thinly shaved aged cheese, like Parmesan or Manchego or Marcoot Tomme
Cilantro or parsley leaves for garnish, optional
Heat 3 tablespoons olive oil in a 4-quart pan over medium heat. Add onion, sprinkle lightly with salt and pepper. Sauté stirring occasionally about 6 to 8 minutes or until onions are soft.
While onions cook, place ham in a small stainless steel skillet. Over medium high heat, cook both sides of the ham until lightly browned about 5 to 6 minutes in total. Remove from pan and cut into bite-sized pieces. Discard ham bone or reserve for alternate use.
Add garlic, thyme and chile flakes to cooked onions; sauté about 1 minute. Add corn and the corn cobs, potatoes, stock and ham pieces and bone. Cover with lid. Bring to a boil; reduce heat and simmer for about 20 to 25 minutes or until the potatoes are cooked tender firm. Stir occasionally.
Remove soup from heat. Remove corn cobs and ham bone from the soup. Taste and adjust salt and pepper seasonings.
Garnish with shaved cheese and fresh herbs. Serve warm. Makes 5 to 6 servings.