First things first — today’s recipe for Mexican-style Cream of Corn Soup has no culinary historical significance in Mexico. But its main ingredients do.
As far as corn goes, well … I often joke that most Mexican food contains the same 3-4 ingredients — and all dishes include corn. The corn part is not so far from the truth. In fact, corn to Mexico is like potatoes to Ireland or rice to China. It’s the cornerstone of the country’s eating habits, mainly because a lot of it grows there.
Did you know? Campbell’s introduced Beefsteak Tomato as its first canned soup in 1895. In the almost-120 years since, the company has introduced hundreds of other varieties — but only a handful that feature corn as a main ingredient. Campbell’s Condensed Sweet Corn Soup was discontinued in 2012 after a short run on supermarket shelves. The company debuted Super Sweet Corn Potage in 2010, but it’s only available in 40-oz (institutional size) cans.
Crema Mexicana (cream) is Mexico’s version of crème fraîche. Both are made similarly: by adding live cultures to cream. The Mexican version is buttery and slightly tangy, although not so much as the American version of sour cream. And it’s pourable, which is why crema Mexicana is often used as a table condiment.
This recipe is really a foundation, sort of like a plain cheesecake. It’s delicious in it’s most simple form, but can be taken in so many different directions, depending on what’s added to it. I’ve added a few suggestions to get you started. Enjoy!
Mexican-style Cream of Corn Soup (Crema de Elote)
4 cups – Fresh or frozen (and thawed) corn kernels
2 T – Ancho (or standard) chile powder
1 t – Oregano
1 cup – Crema Mexicana (see substitute option)
Kosher salt, to taste
Combine all ingredients in a blender until smooth. In a 2 qt. Saucepan, bring to a simmer. Serve immediately.
Zest of 1 Lime, blended with other ingredients before cooking;
2 Poblano peppers – Roasted, peeled and blended with the other ingredients;
2 cloves – Roasted garlic, blended with other ingredients before cooking;
1 cup – Fresh (or roasted) tomato, blended with other ingredients before cooking;
1 lb – Small (raw) shrimp, stirred in with other ingredients before cooking;
1 lb – Mexican chorizo, cooked and drained of excessive fat, mixed in before cooking;
2 TB – Fresh chopped cilantro; mix in after warming;
Sliced or diced Jalapeno, Fresno (pictured) or New Mexico chiles as a garnish
Substitute for Crema Mexicana
2/3 cup – Heavy cream
1/3 cup – Sour cream
1 tsp – Plain salt
Combine all ingredients. If using as a condiment, allow to sit at room temperature for an hour. Otherwise, this substitution recipe may be mixed and used immediately in the Mexican-style Cream of Corn Soup recipe.
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