My plan was to grow things in my garden that I couldn’t get at the Farmer’s market to give myself the widest range of options. That has worked to some extent. My chard has been going gang-busters all summer, what I thought to be Romesco broccoli however, turned out to be an overgrown weed. I mean really, how was I supposed to know what it looked like? It was in the row marked broccoli. Unfortunately this gigantic broccoli-imitating weed took over what probably was my actual plants at one point and left me with two very puny real broccoli plants. They are still growing, but unless it stays very warm through October, I’m probably out of luck.
All this chard on the other hand has been wonderful in tomato sauce and risottos and I’ve been using the stems in place of celery all summer long. They are sweeter than celery, but have the same great crunch, and are great in soups, tuna salad, and pasta. I just use the stems in this soup, but chard leaves would work excellent here as well. They shrivel down to nothing, so I would add an entire bunch to this recipe if I were using them.
I used leftover grilled corn which lent a nice smoky flavor to this soup. If you don’t want to bother grilling the corn, just add raw sweet corn and let it cook until tender. If you’re feeling really ambitious, you can make the stock for this soup with the ears of corn. Just remove all the corn kernels and place the cobs in a stock pot with onion, garlic, bay leaf, peppercorns and some chicken bones if you have them. Let it come to a boil and simmer for an hour or two, until the liquid tastes sufficiently corny.
I like to purée this soup a little to give it a touch of creaminess (without adding cream). You can leave it chunky, or puree completely smooth. Add a few garnishes for color and flavor like thinly sliced red chiles, avocado or sour cream.