Greatest recipe ever: sweetcorn and smoked-chilli soup

‘Stevie Parle has a passion for ingredients. At his restaurant in Ladbroke Grove, west London, boxes of artichokes, fennel, blood oranges, asparagus, berries, corn or whatever is in season pile up outside the kitchen waiting to be “processed” by the deft hands of the chefs inside. He also has a real affinity with spices and flavours, so I was delighted when he started cooking Mexican food. Here, he presents a soup with beautiful simplicity: sweet yellow corn, in season now, simmered until tender with the smoky heat of chipotle chillies. Order a bunch of the chipotles (smoked, dried jalapeños) online-they can last for ages and you’ll find all sorts of other uses for them once you try their haunting, feisty, unforgettable taste’

Thomasina Miers

Sweetcorn and smoked chilli soup with crème fraîche

Extract from Stevie Parle’s Dock Kitchen Cookbook: Real Home Cooking From Around the World
Published by Quadrille Publishing Ltd

When it’s in season, there is nothing better than sweetcorn. It’s great to find a few things to do with it after you have eaten your fill of barbecued or boiled whole cobs with butter. Removing the corn from the cob is strangely satisfying. Epazote is a wild herb found all over South America. It tastes a bit like tarragon, with a slight flavour of anise and almost a smell of petrol. You can get chipotle in adobo from It’s a kind of chilli jam.

Serves 4


6 sweetcorn cobs
1 red onion, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, green sprouts
removed, thinly sliced
1 sprig of tarragon (or dried epazote leaves), chopped
¼tsp ground allspice
1tbsp light olive oil
Knob of unsalted butter
1tsp chipotle in adobo, plus
more to serve (optional)
400ml chicken stock
2tbsp crème fraîche or sour cream
Small bunch of coriander, chopped


Sit a cob on its end on a board. Cut the kernels from the cob with a small sharp knife in a downwards motion. Repeat for all the cobs. Heat a heavy-based pan and slowly fry the onion and garlic with the tarragon and allspice in the olive oil. Add the sweetcorn kernels to the frying garlic and onion. Now, add the butter and the chipotle in adobo, sweat for a few minutes until beginning to soften, add the stock and cook quickly until the sweetcorn is soft and the stock is reduced a little.
Ladle into bowls and serve with a spoonful of crème fraîche on top, sprinkled with the coriander. Sprinkle a little more of the chipotle in adobo, too, if you like.

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