It’s only 9:30 in the morning, and I’ve already got a cup of this fiery soup on my desk. The forecast described today’s weather, accurately, as “a freezing precipitation of ice pellets.” In other words, it’s a day for a smoky, peppery, hearty chowder that will warm you straight to the bones. I also crave this Spanish chowder at the end of summer, when the corn and tomatoes are at their peak and the evening wind holds a faint chill.
This chowder is almost a meal in and of itself. A loaf of crusty bread, a glass of Rioja, maybe a salad are really all that’s needed. To my mind, the perfect dessert would be another thick slice of crusty bread, this time grilled and topped with dark chocolate, a drizzle of olive oil, a few flakes of Maldon sea salt, and maybe a grating of orange zest or a pinch of red chile flakes.
I often cook this soup in two steps, making the sofrito in advance. Any leftover sofrito is delicious stirred into scrambled eggs, as a base for eggs en cocotte, or simply topped with poached eggs for a simple lunch.
3 cups fresh or thawed frozen corn kernels
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 pound fresh Spanish chorizo sausage
1 cup peeled and diced potato
4 cups chicken or vegetable stock, preferably homemade
2 cups sofrito
1/2 cup coarsely chopped roasted piquillo peppers
1 cup crème fraîche
3 tablespoons chopped fresh chives
1/2 clove garlic, minced
Hot paprika or sweet smoked paprika, to taste
Red chile flakes, to taste
Salt and pepper, to taste
Preheat the oven to 425°F.
Line a rimmed baking sheet with aluminum foil. If using thawed frozen corn kernels, pat them dry with paper towels. Toss the corn with 1 tablespoon of the olive oil and then spread out in a single layer on the baking sheet. Roast the corn for about 10 minutes, until the edges are starting to turn a golden brown. Remove from the oven, transfer to a plate, and set aside.
Slice the chorizo or remote from its casing and crumble. Warm the remaining 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a soup pot over medium-high heat. When hot, add the chorizo and sauté until browned. Transfer the chorizo to another plate. If it has rendered a lot of fat, discard some and leave roughly 2 tablespoons. Toss the potato into the pot and cook, stirring, letting it absorb some of that chorizo goodness. Add the stock, sofrito, piquillos, and roasted corn and bring to a boil. Lower the heat and simmer about 20 minutes, until the vegetables soften but haven’t yet lost their texture.
Meanwhile, in a small bowl, stir the crème fraîche with a fork to loosen it up a bit. Stir in the chives, garlic, paprika, and chile flakes. Season with salt and pepper.
Slide the chorizo into the soup, stir in half of the crème fraîche mixture, and cook for 5 minutes longer. Ladle into warmed bowls, dollop with some of the remaining crème fraiche, and lightly dust with paprika.
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Reprinted with permission from The London Cookbook by Aleksandra Crapanzano, copyright © 2016. Photography by Sang An. Published by Ten Speed Press, an imprint of Random House LLC.
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