Japanese corn soup with saffran

How to make a corn soup that tastes like going to school in Japan, waiting for a train in the cold winter days, and at the vending machines buying a small, hot corn soup with whole pieces at the bottom.

Saffran corn soup

Zuppa di mais con zafferano

Four large portions four, and six small

3 cans of quality corn, or whole corn ears cleaned and tips cut off
2/3 tbsp of butter*
2 medium white onions, sliced
one bunch of saffran**
6 cups of broth or stock***
spices like paprika, garam masala, really what you like
salt and pepper
1.5 cup of milk

Heat the oven at 220 C and drain the corn (cut the kernels if you use the ear). Leave soaking for a while to be sure all the water is removed, or it will dehydrate the corn. On two sheets, spread the kernels well and add salt, pepper and whatever spices you like. Roast for 15 minutes, 20 if they don’t seem ready.

Meanwhile, in a large pan melt half the butter and when it starts to bubble, add the onions and stir until they are coated. Remove the corn from the oven and add it to the pan. Stir in the second half of the butter. When the butter is fully melted and the corn fully coated, begin to add the stock. Only use enough to cover the top layer of corn by the width of two fingers and bring to a low boil for 10 minutes, uncovered.

At this point, take the milk out of the fridge so it will arrive at room temperature.

When the soup flavors are mixed and ready, use an immersion blender and make sure all of the kernels are broken apart, it may take a minute or two extra. Pour it out in a large bowl, then place a pasta strainer over the original pan. Run the soup back into the pan through the strainer, and using a whisk, beat the soup in circles until all that remains are the shells, which you will then discard.

Add the saffran flavored water and stir it in well. You’ll use a lot more water to seep the saffran than you will to cook it, so add it gradually, stir and taste. Once you find the balance that doesn’t overpower, lower fire for five more minutes. Turn off the fire and add the milk, and stir some more. It should be creamy and tasty.

Serve in a bowl with a few kernels and some decoration saffran or thyme twigs.

* I tried it also with olive oil, or coconut oil, and miso to be healthier, but the butter’s flavor is supreme. The saffran balances the flavor that in a traditional recipe would require double the amount of butter, plus heavy cream.
** See picture above. Seep it for 10 minutes in warm water, you can also seep it in the warm water, stock or milk, if you are feeling experimental.
*** Vegetarian, chicken or beef, it’s all dependent on how rich you want it to be. Mine was chicken, deep but light.

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