Mexican Chicken and Sweetcorn Soup

After buying a whole lot of chicken thighs on special, and after realising that my freezer was was way beyond capacity, I needed something to use up a few. This soup killed two birds with one fell swoop. Fresh sweetcorn in undeniably delicious, but for a reason unknown to me, it is one of those vegetables I purchase then, almost wantonly, watch deteriorate over a week. I’m often at a loss of how to use it creatively. Ultimately, I have lost many hundreds of corn cobs to the bin as a result. This recipe puts them to excellent use. Bringing their sweetness to a rustic, spicy soup. It’s a hearty and filling soup that was perfect for a pretty cold (yes cold!) Sydney summer’s day.

3 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 onion (finely diced)
1 carrot (finely diced)
2 cloves garlic (chopped)
1 teaspoon dried oregano
4 chicken thigh fillets (left whole)
½ teaspoon chilli powder
1 teaspoon ground cumin
¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 teaspoon salt
5-6 stems fresh coriander (leaves and stalks chopped)
½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
4 fresh corn cobs (corn removed)
1 litre (hot) chicken stock
1 lime (juice of)
fresh coriander (for garnish)

Heat the oil in a large pan over a moderate heat until hot. Add the onion, carrot, garlic and oregano and fry gently for 4-5 minutes until soft. Add the chicken and fry on each side for 2 minutes. Add the chilli, cumin, nutmeg, salt, coriander and pepper and stir well. Add about two thirds of the corn and set aside the rest. Now add the chicken stock. Bring this to a boil then reduce the heat to low. Cover the pan and simmer gently for 45 minutes. Remove the chicken pieces and chop into smallish chunks then set aside.

Using a stick blender, blend the soup into a smooth texture. Return the chicken to the pan and then add the remaining corn. Bring back to a simmer then remove from the heat. Check for seasoning then serve hot.

Spoon into a bowl then squeeze over a little lime juice. Sprinkle over some fresh coriander then serve with either crusty bread or freshly fried corn tortilla chips.

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