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Corn And Leek Soup

Corn And Leek Soup
David Scantland for NPR

If you prefer a smooth soup, puree the entire batch and pour through a medium strainer. Adding cream will make the soup richer and smoother, but it's good without as well.

Makes 4 to 6 servings as a first course, or 2 to 3 as a main course

1 large leek or 2 small ones, white and light green parts only, washed and chopped (about 1 1/2 cups)

3 tablespoons unsalted butter

3 cups fresh corn kernels (from 4 to 6 ears)

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, plus more to taste

2 teaspoons Maryland-style seafood seasoning

2/3 cup dry vermouth

3 cups unsalted chicken stock or water

1/4 cup cream (optional)


3 to 4 slices bacon, diced

1 tablespoon all-purpose flour

2 teaspoons seafood seasoning

8 to 12 medium shrimp, peeled and deveined

4 scallions, green part only, diced

Heat a medium-sized, heavy pot over medium heat and melt the butter. When the butter has foamed, add the leeks, corn, salt and seasoning and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened (about 5 minutes). Add vermouth and bring to a simmer. Turn heat down to medium-low and cook, stirring occasionally, for 5 to 7 minutes, until most of the vermouth evaporates. Add the chicken stock and simmer, covered, for an additional 20 to 30 minutes. Remove from heat and let cool slightly.

Pour about half the soup into a blender or food processor and puree until smooth. (If soup is still hot, work in small batches and be careful to hold the lid on firmly.) Pour the pureed soup back into the pot and bring just to a simmer. Add cream if using and stir to combine. Adjust salt, if necessary.

For the garnish, saute the diced bacon in a medium-sized skillet over medium heat until crisp. Remove the bacon to a paper towel to drain. There should be 1/8 to 1/4 inch of bacon fat left in the pan. If there's more, pour it off; if less, add vegetable oil to the pan.

While the bacon is cooking, mix the flour and seasoning in a small flat bowl. Dredge the shrimp in the flour mixture and shake off excess.

Heat the bacon fat over medium high heat. When hot, add the shrimp carefully, in a single layer. Cook for 2 minutes, then flip them to the other side and cook for an additional minute, or until shrimp are pink and opaque. Remove from pan.

Top each serving of soup with 2 or 3 shrimp and sprinkle with bacon and scallion greens.

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