Lots of wonderful cilantro remains in the refrigerator, along with half a can of green chiles--perfect start for a creamy soup full of flavor and suitable for a nice vegetarian supper.
This is an adaption of a fresh corn soup and was made with super sweet farmers' market corn I had frozen last summer. If you are going to be using frozen corn from the store, you may want to add a tiny bit of sugar to make up for that great fresh from the garden flavor.
Creamy Mexican Corn Soup
16 oz frozen sweet corn, thawed (about 2 c packed)
1 c chopped onion
1 T butter
1 T canola oil
2 c chicken broth (OR vegetable broth for a vegetarian version)
1 c water
1 c nonfat dry milk powder (OR substitute 1 c milk for the water and dry milk powder)
3 T flour
1 c minced cilantro, leaves and stems
2 oz canned, diced green chiles
1 to 2 jalapenos, seeded and inner ribs removed, finely minced (see NOTE)
1 c grated cheddar or Monterey Jack cheese or a "Mexican 4 cheese" blend
salt to taste
1. Place the sweet corn in a colander and drain, pressing down lightly if needed. RESERVE LIQUID!
2. Heat the butter and oil over medium high heat in a large skillet. Saute the onion and drained corn until the onions are translucent and the corn has started to just begin to look toasted. Stir often. (This step adds a caramelized, slightly roasted flavor to the soup so shouldn't be skipped, even if it is a little extra work.)
3. Stir in the flour and mix until the flour is completely dissolved in the mixture.
4. Add the water and dry milk powder, stir until the powder is dissolved, and then stir in the broth and reserved corn liquid.
5. Stir in the cilantro, chiles and jalapeno and continue stirring over medium to medium high heat, just until the mixture begins to bubble and thicken. Add a little milk or water if you prefer a thinner soup.
6. Turn the heat to low and gently stir in the cheese. Taste for seasoning.
Suggested serving: Top with more grated cheese, chopped cilantro, chopped red onion, and/or imitation bacon bits. Serve with tortilla chips or strips. (See below for home-made strips as shown in the photo above.)
Serves 4 to 6
NOTE If you prefer a less spicy soup, use 4 oz chiles and omit the jalapenos.
VARIATION: When you have access to fresh corn on the cob, use that and skip Step 1, proceeding straight to caramelizing the corn and onions.
Quick "Baked" Tortilla Strips or Chips
Brands of tortillas and microwaves both vary in the time this process will take, so you will need to watch these closely the first few times you make them. However, they are easy, quick, and usually much cheaper than packaged baked chips--and you can adjust for yourself the salt and other seasonings.
corn tortillas, about 1 to 2 per person
1. Cut the tortillas in wedges or strips as desired. Kitchen shears work best for this, as you can cut a stack of four or five all at once.
2. Spray a large microwave-safe plate or platter lightly with nonstick spray. Arrange the tortilla pieces evenly around the tray.
3. Heat the strips on HIGH, using about one to one and a half minutes per tortilla. After a minute or so, turn the strips and rearrange to make sure they are cooking evenly.
4. Continue heating on HIGH, until the strips are crisp and only just beginning to turn golden. DO NOT OVERCOOK.
Taco Shell Variation
Whole tortillas can also be prepared this way to approximate taco shells. Place a nonstick-sprayed glass bread loaf pan in the microwave and lay tortillas over the edges in an approximate taco shape. Heat on HIGH in the microwave and then lift from the pan (to be sure they aren't sticking) about a minute or two into the cooking.