Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Corn, Zucchini, and Bean Soup

Corn, Zucchini, and Bean Soup

Serve this Mexican-style soup hot or room temperature

It’s peak corn and zucchini in our part of the world. So why not combine them?

This soup is a perfect first course – or you can even make a meal out of it. And it tastes equally good hot or at room temperature. Which also makes it perfect for summer weather.

So no need to sweat it in the kitchen.



Corn, Zucchini, and Bean Soup

Recipe: Corn, Zucchini, and Bean Soup

Zucchini is great in this dish. But you can also substitute yellow squash. Sweet corn freezes extremely well, so you can use frozen corn if fresh isn’t available.

We like to use black beans in this soup, but almost any bean would work. White beans would be particularly nice.

The spices in this soup are what give it a Mexican angle. You can adjust the spice level to fit your taste (though this recipe is moderately spiced). We use ancho chile powder, which doesn’t have a lot of heat. But you could substitute chipotle or something stronger if that’s your preference.

BTW, chile powder is the powder of dried chilies. Chili powder – with an i – contains both chile powder and other flavorings such as dried cumin, coriander, oregano, and salt.

Exact quantities aren’t all that important in this dish. You can change things around to suit your tastes (or the contents of your pantry).

This recipe takes about 30 minutes to prepare. You can make it a day or two ahead and refrigerate it if you prefer. Just reheat it if serving hot, or let it come up to room temperature for a cooler option.

This dish serves 8 as a first course (or half that many as a main). Leftovers keep well for a few days if refrigerated in an airtight container.

Ingredients
  • ~3 cups sweet corn (fresh or frozen)
  • 1 medium onion (we use yellow, but purple onion would be dandy too)
  • 1 red bell pepper
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • ~½ teaspoon kosher salt (or to taste; see Notes)
  • 2 to 3 garlic cloves (to taste)
  • 1 to 2 jalapeño peppers (to taste)
  • ~1 pound zucchini (1 big or 2 medium; yellow squash would also work well)
  • 2 teaspoons dried cumin (or to taste)
  • 1 teaspoon dried coriander (or to taste)
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano (or to taste; may substitute fresh)
  • 2 to 3 teaspoons ancho chile powder (or to taste; may substitute another chile powder if you prefer)
  • 1 14-ounce can diced tomatoes
  • 1 can black beans (you can double this)
  • 4 cups water (may substitute chicken or vegetable stock)
  • additional kosher salt to taste (probably another ½ teaspoon or so)
  • freshly ground black pepper to taste (about ¼ teaspoon for us)
  • 2 tablespoons cilantro or parsley, minced (optional)
  • jalapeño slices for garnish (optional)
Procedure
  1. If using fresh sweet corn, cut the kernels from the cobs (see Notes). If using frozen corn, measure out 3 cups. Set aside.
  2. Peel the onion and cut it into dice of ¼ inch or so. Wash and dry the red bell pepper, then remove the stem and core. Remove the white ribs, and cut the pepper into dice of ½ inch or a bit less.
  3. Place a cooking pot (one that holds at least 4 quarts) on medium stovetop heat. When hot, add the oil. Once the oil heats (it’ll shimmer – about 15 seconds), add the chopped onion and red bell pepper. Season with salt, and sauté for 5 minutes.
  4. Meanwhile, peel the garlic and mince it or cut it into thin slices. Set aside.
  5. Wash the jalapeño peppers and cut them lengthwise. Use a teaspoon to scoop out the ribs and seeds (be careful, the oil on these is hot; keep fingers away from your eyes). Chop the peppers into very small dice (or use a mini food processor). You may want to reserve a round or two of the jalapeño for garnish. Set the chopped jalapeños aside, then wash your hands with soap and water to remove the hot oil from your skin.
  6. Cut the stem(s) off the zucchini, then dice the zucchini into pieces of ½ inch or so.
  7. By this time, the onion and bell pepper will probably have been sautéing for 5 minutes. Add the sweet corn, chopped garlic, jalapeño, and zucchini to the cooking pot and sauté for another 5 minutes.
  8. Add the dried cumin, coriander, oregano, and chile powder to the cooking pot. Stir to mix in the spices.
  9. Add the can of diced tomatoes to the cooking pot. Drain and rinse the black beans, then add them to the cooking pot. Add the water.
  10. Bring the mixture to a simmer, then taste. Add salt and black pepper to taste. Cook for about 15 minutes (a bit longer is fine).
  11. If using the cilantro or parsley, mince it while the soup is cooking. Stir it in when the soup is almost done. 
  12. Serve the soup immediately, or let it cool to room temperature. We like to garnish it with jalapeño slices.
Corn, Zucchini, and Bean Soup

Notes
  • If using fresh sweet corn, we estimate that one ear yields about ¾ cup of kernels (maybe a bit less).
  • We find the easiest way to cut kernels from a cob is to stand a shucked ear upright on a cutting board (with the stem up – you hold onto that with one hand). Use a sharp knife and slice downwards underneath the rows of kernels.
  • We use canned beans in this recipe because they’re convenient, but the dish would be even better with dried beans that you soak and simmer.
  • We haven’t used pinto beans in this recipe, but think they’d be wonderful.
  • You could replace the red bell pepper and jalapeño with other chilies. Hatch or poblano chilies would get our vote.
  • We use kosher salt, which is less salty by volume than regular table salt (its large crystals don’t pack as densely). If using regular table salt, start with about half as much as we suggest.
  • But always adjust salt and black pepper (or any herb or spice) to your own taste.
Corn, Zucchini, and Bean Soup

Corn Fed

“Mmm, corn,” said Mrs. Kitchen Riffs. “Keep those recipes coming.”

“I’m all ears when it comes to your suggestions,” I said.

“Fortunately, we have a cornucopia of recipes to choose from,” said Mrs K R.

“Loving the zucchini, too,” I said. “I’ll have to squash more of that into our repertoire.”

“We just can’t resist corny food jokes, can we?” said Mrs K R.

“Of course not,” I said. “They’re our stalk in trade.”

You may also enjoy reading about:
Sautéed Corn with Chilies and Bacon
Celery, Corn, and Bacon Chowder
Chilled Cucumber Soup with Yogurt and Dill
Quick & Easy Gazpacho
Hungarian-Style Cold Cherry Soup
Strawberry-Chipotle Soup with Mint
Summer Pea Soup with Mint
Or check out the index for more

90 comments:

  1. I love a good corn soup and this one uses so many more vegetables.Great photo too!

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    1. Hi Pamela, we love veggie-heavy dishes! And soup is such a nice way to use corn, don't you think? Thanks for the comment.

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  2. Oh dear, the banter is down-right corny! (OMG! Did I just write THAT?)
    I adore summer corn that's been grilled. We do batches of them as soon as I see them at the markets, a sprinkle in a dish mid-winter takes me right back to summer.
    Your soup is gorgeous, I love the combo of ingredients, and it so pretty to look at.
    Eva http://kitcheninspirations.wordpress.com

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    1. Hi Eva, yeah, that's pretty awful banter, isn't it? :-) Grilled corn is wonderful, and would work in this dish. Thanks for the comment.

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  3. Love this type of meal... hearty, flavorful and easy to prepare!!!

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    1. Hi Denise, we're all about easy in the summer, too. And flavorful, of course. :-) Thanks for the comment.

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  4. We have had cool/rainy weather the past few days... this soup would be perfect for dinner. Love all the ingredients in there.

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    1. Hi Pam, been hot here, so we like the room temperature version. But cold/rainy weather? I'd be all over the hot one! Thanks for the comment.

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  5. I have been on a huge zucchini kick this summer - yellow squash too. This soup is perfection!

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    1. Hi Laura, summer squash is such good stuff, isn't it? Love it! Thanks for the comment.

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  6. Great suggestion for a summer soup!

    best... mae at maefood.blogspot.com

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    1. Hi Mae, it's a nice one, isn't it? So much flavor! Thanks for the comment.

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  7. Gorgeous and colorful soup. Kinda of funny I just ate a lovely zucchini with my lunch and yes it would taste great with fresh corn! Definitely room temperature right now thoough only lol.

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    1. Hi Evelyne, soup is actually a good hot weather dish -- as long as it's not hot! And we love the zucchini and corn combo. Thanks for the comment.

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  8. Even without meat, this sure looks like a hearty soup -- and still plenty of protein, Nice use of summer's harvest. (I'll take mine warm, though, John.)

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    1. Hi Rosemary, if you wanted more protein (and I know you're looking to maximize yours) more beans would work quite well. Or maybe some quinoa -- haven't tried that, but it should work really well. Thanks for the comment.

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  9. Harumph... Eva stole my "corny" joke. I guess I'll just have to eat my soup in silence. GREG

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    1. Hi Greg, the more corny humor the better! Thanks for the comment.

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  10. I'd much rather make a soup in the summer, in my air conditioned kitchen, than searing myself over the hot grill on our hot patio. Just me. :) What a great way to use Summer veggies, and I think any kind of bean in the world would work great in this one. Thanks for sharing John.

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    1. Hi Lea Ann, when I grill in the summer I make frequent trips between the AC in the house and the heat of the patio. :-) Thanks for the comment.

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  11. Replies
    1. Hi Marcelle, we really enjoyed it! Thanks for the comment.

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  12. It’s amazing, you can get so many flavor out of a veggie soup. Looks so tasty....

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    1. Hi Rahul, we love veggie -- and bean! -- soups around here. :-) Thanks for the comment.

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  13. Replies
    1. Hi Lizzy, this is so nice and summery! And soon you'll be experiencing the delights of summer while we shiver in the cold. :-) Thanks for the comment.

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  14. Bill is going to be out of town this weekend, so I can have a zucchini fest! This soup would be a delicious addition to my menu!

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    1. Hi Liz, a zucchini fest sounds like a wonderful idea! Thanks for the comment.

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  15. A new recipe to use up the overabundance of summer zucchini, I'm in! We're still living under the cover of coastal fog which makes soup very appealing.

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    1. Hi Deb, we all need more ways of using the flood of zucchini many of us are experiencing! :-) Thanks for the comment.

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  16. Woo hoo! The neighbors just gave me lots of zucchini and I know what to do with it! This sounds like a great soup, John, have it room temp for the hot 90° days like we have now. This summer soup rocks! Take care

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    1. Hi Pam, zucchini in soup is great! But room temperature for us, too. :-) Thanks for the comment.

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  17. All you need with this recipe for absolutely perfection is.........green chile! Ha ha. This is my kind of dish John! I love this "throw everything into a pot" dish. They are so hearty and delicious. Just love this combo! Thanks!

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    1. Hi MJ, green chile would be terrific in this! I'm hoping our local stores start getting shipments of Hatch green chilies soon. :-) Thanks for the comment.

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  18. That looks like one HEARTY HEARTY soup sir! Def makes me want FALL to come right now!

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    1. Hi GiGi, we'll be serving this soup -- or a variation of it -- piping hot when the cool fall weather arrives. :-) Thanks for the comment.

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  19. This could see me through to the end of summer. Almost like calabacitas in a pot, less the cream. Now you got me thinking!

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    1. Hi Abbe, this is kinda sorta like calabacitas! Didn't think of that when I was making it (I was motivated by an overload of zucchini and corn!) Thanks for the comment.

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  20. Nothing to hate about this recipe, hearty filling and easy. Thanks

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    1. Hi Amira, we like easy! And good. :-) Thanks for the comment.

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  21. Perfect for this time of year. I've out it on the schedule for this week :)

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    1. Hi Lydia, isn't this nice? Loads of flavor and savor! Thanks for the comment.

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  22. Love the sound of this veggie soup, so colourful.

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    1. Hi Caroline, we DO like pretty food. :-) Tasty, too! Thanks for the comment.

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  23. This soup looks refreshing and summery. I love that you can serve it room temperature.

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    1. Hi Jeff, I think the flavor comes through better at room temperature. Although it's nice hot, too. Thanks for the comment.

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  24. We're still enjoying fresh corn and zucchini, but have a lot of yellow squash too. Love the flavors in this soup and never thought to combine it with zucchini - great recipe, terrific idea and it looks delicious!

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    1. Hi Tricia, this would probably be fun to make with winter squash too, I'll bet. And in that case obviously with frozen corn. May have to try that! Thanks for the comment.

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  25. I can actually make this soup. Since my kitchen is completely gutted, it is something in the multicooker, something on the grill or something to go. We much prefer something homemade so any great recipes like this are much appreciated.

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    1. Hi Karen, this would be a good multicooker recipe! Hope you get your kitchen back soon. Thanks for the comment.

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  26. This soup is a perfect way to use up some of those summer veggies. I have noticed that many of the same veggies in the same growing season compliment each other very nicely. Love this soup!!!

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    1. Hi Cheri, we often try to pair veggies that have peak season in the same dish. I agree -- I think they taste wonderful together! Thanks for the comment.

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  27. Such a wonderful way to use all those summer veggies in a soup. Looks so pretty hearty and delicious. And of course comfy too, a perfect meal for fall, which would be here in a month or so! :)

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    1. Hi Anu, this is definitely one of those recipes that bridges the seasons. Serve at room temperature for summer, hot for fall. :-) Thanks for the comment.

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  28. This is a fresh and delicious looking summer soup!

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    1. Hi Amy, this is a wonderful soup -- we like it a lot! Thanks for the comment.

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  29. I have been craving soups all summer. It's really hot here so am waiting for temps to cool down a bit to actually enjoy soups. But this one seems like a perfect one to taste flavors of last days of summer!

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    1. Hi Ansh, it's been hot here, too. But sometimes you just have to make soup! And this one is quite refreshing when it's room temperature. Thanks for the comment.

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  30. This is such a pretty and colorful soup...I love all the vegetables in it and yes, lots of spices...not only look good, it sounds delicious John!
    Hope you are having nice week :)

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    1. Hi Juliana, we love soups like this! Great way to use veggies. :-) Thanks for the comment.

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  31. I like how you don't have to enjoy this piping hot. As much as I love hot soup, it's not what I crave in summer. But this version that I can enjoy at room temp -- with some tortilla chips on the side perhaps -- is definitely more my speed at this time of year.

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    1. Hi Carolyn, really like the idea of tortilla chips on the side! Very appropriate. :-) Thanks for the comment.

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  32. I summer soup like this right down my alley. I love it, ok maybe I put a little sausage in it. Have a great weekend.

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    1. Hi Gerlinde, a little chorizo would be nice! I think I'd like it served hot that way, though. But maybe not -- would have to try it both ways! Thanks for the comment.

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  33. This looks like a real life-size photo of your dish. I feel like I could delve right in to eat it! Many wonderful flavors here!

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    1. Hi Fran, delve away! The flavor are great. :-) Thanks for the comment.

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  34. Hot or at room temperature, I so enjoy a good hearty, veggie packed soup anytime! And this is also a great idea for all the zucchini I have on my counter currently. Thanks so much for sharing this recipe!

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    1. Hi Shashi, I'll bet most of us are overloaded with zucchini at the moment! Thanks for the comment.

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  35. Oh this soup looks like it's perfect for today's stormy weather.

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    1. Hi Peachy, the hot version of this will certainly warm you up! Thanks for the comment.

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  36. I have a huge zuke on the counter and I am sure once I wander down to the garden I will have two more!

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    1. Hi Debra, yeah, those zucchini grow to enormous size overnight, don't they? Thanks for the comment.

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  37. Yum, I almost forget about soup in the summer but you just made me realize how much I've missed it!

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    1. Hi Chris, we eat soup every month of the year, but more in cool/cold weather. But summer soups are nice! Thanks for the comment.

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  38. I love soups at any time of year and this is so chock full of healthy, delicious fresh vegetables! Absolutely beautiful! Sharing :)

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    1. Hi Robyn, we love soup too -- one of our favorite meals. This one is particularly good. And quite healthy -- bonus! Thanks for the comment.

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  39. A bowl of that is so perfect for our cold weather here now in NZ

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    1. Hi Raymund, I like that this soup works well in hot or cold weather -- just adjust its serving temperature! Thanks for the comment.

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  40. Cold soups turn some people off, but I love them. This would be great for me because the heat in NY is not letting up!

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    1. Hi Mary, we really like cold soups, too. This has been a really hot summer, hasn't it? Cold soup to the rescue! Thanks for the comment.

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  41. I love the bright colors in this soup. The corn and zucchini sound wonderful in this soup.

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    1. Hi Dawn, the corn and zucchini make such a great flavor combo! So good. :-) Thanks for the comment.

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  42. Never would have thought to use zucchini in a soup, John, but this dish just looks so appealing. WIth such a variety of vegetables being harvested, why not create a soup wth them? Thanks for another great dish, John, one I hope to prepare for myself before Fall gets here.

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    1. Hi John, there's so much zucchini around I'm putting it in everything! :-) Thanks for the comment.

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  43. Ha! When summer rolls around everyone is frantically searching for recipes to use up all their squash! I admit, I'm trying to find ways of using as much as I can too. Yesterday at work, I made a potato, squash and ground beef curry for the guys. They loved it! Lovely thing about squash is how it absorbs other flavours. I'm sure in this soup, it's doing the same thing; picking up all the lovely spices. Looks wonderful! We like soups, even in the summer!

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    1. Hi Nazneen, yup, gotta use all that zucchini! We've got another recipe for it coming in a few weeks. :-) Thanks for the comment.

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  44. I will be doing this (although soup isn't exactly on the agenda - it comforts me even when it is ninety degrees). I need to use up zucchini - it is the gift that keeps on giving even when it becomes unwanted. Plus: it's corn season inn MN!

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    1. Hi Claudia, this really is a great soup whether you serve it at room temperature or hot. Wonderful flavor! Thanks for the comment.

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  45. This is so colourful (yes we put a u into colurful because we don't already have enough letters to write) that it makes me feel healthy just be looking at the dish. Thank you for an awesome creation John 8)

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    1. Hi Merryn, always good to use extra letters. :D This is a good one -- you'll like. Thanks for the comment.

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