Parmesan-Corn Soup with Chili Popcorn
I know, I know – you, too, are subjected to the often capricious demands of a child who is, among other things, a very difficult eater. What's good today is bad tomorrow and you just never know where this journey will take you. With all the ups and downs parents can experience, there seem to be a few mainstays – food that our kids always like. Like ice cream. Or popcorn.
What, then, could be better than to indulge such unwavering preferences by incorporating our kid's favorite foods/treats into a main dish?
With that in mind, I'd like to pose a hypothetical question exploring whether you know ANY dishes that incorporate popcorn? No? Neither did I. Still, my little daughter just loves popcorn – she is a sucker for kettle corn and not a county fair nor festival goes by without me having to purchase a bag of popcorn. Admittedly, I love it, too. Thus, there simply had to be a way for me to use popcorn in a dish that she would eat – meaning, a dish that is also mostly beige in appearance. Fortunately, popcorn is already beige and hence, I thought that the possibility of creating a mostly beige dish using popcorn was certainly given.
After all, what could be better than incorporating such a wonderful ingredient into a healthy and satisfying meal? I had to play around a bit with ingredients to ensure that the resulting meal is actually mostly beige in appearance. The picture I have attached is an early adaptation that relied on leeks, rendering the resulting soup a bit on the greenish side. Some difficult eaters are alright with this variation, others reject green outright. If your picky eater thinks any food that's green is automatically yucky, I suggest you stay away from using leeks in this recipe. Instead, opt for celery – which renders the soup a whole lot more beige! The process remains the same, the flavors are different – but I wouldn't claim that one is inferior to the other. It's just a matter of taste.
I also played around with using true kettle corn – but I never liked what it did to the flavor of the soup. I found that adding just a pinch of cayenne pepper to the popped corn resulted in a much more appealing flavor.
½ tsp. Ghee (clarified butter).
1 Tbs. Corn kernels (for popcorn).
Pinch of Salt.
Pinch of Cayenne Pepper.
2 Green Onions.
1 Celery stalk (or one Leek, if you prefer).
½ Tbs. Butter.
½ Tbs. All-Purpose Flour.
½ cup Milk.
½ cup Vegetable Stock.
1 cup Corn (canned) – NOT drained.
¼ fresh Parmesan (grated).
Let's get started:
Place a large pot (with a lid) on high heat.
Add the ghee and let it melt.
Add the corn kernels.
Add the salt.
Add the cayenne pepper.
Stir a few times.
Cover pot with the lid and wait until the popping sounds start to diminish (usually about 2 or 3 minutes).
Remove the pot from the stove, carefully remove the lid, and let the popcorn cool down.
Slice the green onions into narrow rings but separate the green and white parts.
Cut the celery stalk into thin slices (or do the same with the leek if that's what you are using).
Either remove the popcorn from the pot and wipe the pot out, or use a separate large pot to make the soup.
Add the butter to the pot and let melt over medium heat.
Add the white parts of the green onions.
Stir and saute for about two minutes.
Add the flour and incorporate by stirring until it starts to turn slightly golden.
Add the milk.
Add the vegetable stock.
Bring to a boil.
Add the canned corn (including the liquid).
Add the celery (or leek).
Reduce heat and let simmer for about 10 minutes.
Once the vegetables are soft, add the grated parmesan and stir.
Puree with an immersion blender (or use a regular blender if you don't own an immersion blender).
Taste for salt and cayenne and adjust seasoning accordingly.
Ladle soup into appropriate bowls, add the sliced green onions, and the popped corn kernels.