Known for its corn, Olathe (pronounced o-LAY-tha) is an agricultural town about 50 miles from Smith Fork Ranch. Every August at the Olathe Sweet Corn Festival (olathesweetcornfest.com) as many as 15,000 visitors consume over 70,000 ears. Smith Fork Ranch gets its corn from Olathe, but this simple soup is fabulous when made with any fresh summer corn. The chopped Anaheim chile and Manchego cheese add a little heat and substance.
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6 ears of corn, kernels cut off, cobs reserved
2 quarts water
1 bay leaf
1 Anaheim chile
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
3 garlic cloves, chopped
1 medium onion, chopped
Salt and freshly ground pepper
1/2 cup half-and-half
1/2 cup shredded Manchego cheese
How to Make It
In a large saucepan, cover the corn cobs with the water and bring to a boil. Add the bay leaf and simmer over moderately low heat for 40 minutes. Strain the corn broth into a bowl.
Meanwhile, roast the Anaheim chile directly over a gas flame or under a broiler until charred all over. Transfer the chile to a bowl, cover with plastic wrap and let steam for 5 minutes. Discard the charred skin, stem and seeds and cut the chile into 1/4-inch dice.
In a large saucepan, heat the oil. Add the garlic and onion and cook over moderate heat until softened, about 5 minutes. Add the corn, season with salt and pepper and cook for 1 minute. Add the reserved corn broth and bring to a boil, then simmer over low heat until the corn is tender, about 10 minutes.
Set a strainer over a large bowl. In a food processor, puree the soup in batches until smooth; strain it into the bowl.
Return the soup to the saucepan, add the half-and-half and simmer for 5 minutes. Stir in the chile and season with salt and pepper. Ladle the soup into bowls, top with the Manchego and serve.
The soup can be refrigerated overnight. Reheat it gently and add the cheese just before serving.
A low-oak Chardonnay from Washington State or Sonoma County will echo the soup's creamy texture and the sweetness of the corn.
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