Monday, October 15, 2007

Eat For A Week, Episode 7: Corn Soup

I apologize for the lengthy delay in getting this entry up. The last couple of weeks have just been insane.

After the cholesterol-fest that was episode 6, I've had a number of requests for something vegetarian. I don't currently have many vegetarian recipes in my arsenal, but this is one of them. (And it's one of my favourites.) If you wanted to make it completely vegan, then you'd need to substitute something for the butter in the dumplings. (Vegetable shortening, maybe?)

This is another one I learned from my Trini friend, Federico. Corn soup is a late night street vendor staple in Trinidad during Carnival. I don't know about the rest of the year since the only times I've been were for Carnival.

I've never made this in anything smaller than a 12 qt pot - and it makes a HUGE pot of food - so if your pot is smaller than that, you'll definitely want to adjust measurements accordingly. Fortunately, this stuff freezes really well so you don't have to worry too much about wasting food if you find yourself with more than you can eat in a week.

My bill this time around was about $11. For this I had to purchase potatoes, corn, garlic, onions, yellow split peas, and coconut milk.


The biggest pot you own.
A mid-sized bowl (for making the dumplings).


5 lbs potatoes, peeled & chopped into about 1" chunks
4 ears of corn, cleaned and chopped into 1.5-2" chunks *
1 large onion, finely chopped
1 clove garlic, finely chopped
2 lbs yellow split peas (dry) **
1 Tbsp garlic & herb seasoning
1 tsp dry ground ginger
1 - 1 1/2 Tbsps black pepper
2 Tbsp fresh parsley, chopped ***
2 Tbsp fresh chives, chopped ***
1 can coconut milk

1/2 C butter
5-8 heaping tablespoons of flour
2 tsps salt
1/4 C warm watter


First, fill your pot about 2/3 of the way with water. Salt well. (For a 12 qt pot, I use 2-3 Tbsps salt.) Set pot over high heat and allow to come to a boil. Get this started before dealing with the vegetables since it'll take a while to get going. You'll have plenty of time to clean & chop everything.

Once the water is boiling, add the split peas, garlic/herb seasoning, ginger, pepper, parsley, chives, corn, onions, and garlic. Reduce heat to medium and let cook for about an hour, stirring occasionally to be sure nothing is sticking to the bottom of the pot. At some point during this hour, make the dumplings.

In a bowl combine butter, salt, about half the flour, and about half of the water. Mix with your hands until a nice dough is formed. You're looking for something about the consistency of a nice soft play-dough. You'll probably need to play with the amounts of flour and water. (I always have to.)

Once the hour is up, add the potatoes (remember to drain them first!) and let it cook for another 10 minutes or so. Yes, things will begin burning to the bottom of the pot now. Just stir regularly, and don't be too vigorous about scraping stuff off the bottom. You don't want to get flakes of burnt food floating through the soup.

After potatoes have had a chance to warm up, start making and adding the dumplings. Just roll into about 2" long oblongs and drop them in. Also add the coconut milk. (You'll probably want to shake the can well before opening just in case the fats have separated out.) Let cook for another 45 minutes, stirring regularly. (About every 5 minutes or so.)

Serve and enjoy!


Because of the insane amount of starchy ingredients in this, it will basically solidify in the fridge. Just spoon up some big hunks, add a couple tablespoons of water, microwave on high for about 3 minutes per serving, then mix will to loosen up the soup.

Music for this episode is "When We Get Older (Instrumental)" by The Hybiscus Journals.

* To make this with longer-lasting items, you could use frozen corn cobs. If you do, you'll probably want to get the ones that are already cut into chunks. They'll be a bit larger than what I made, though. You could either leave them as they are or thaw them (to make cutting easier) and chop them in half.
** My usual grocery store doesn't carry yellow split peas, so I frequently make this with the green ones instead. Doesn't taste any different, but it's slightly less appealing visually.
*** If you only have dried herbs, that's fine. Just cut the amount in half. I didn't have chives of any sort on hand this time, so I just left them out.