There’s no better way to celebrate summer than with this silky, slightly smoky corn soup. Chipotle chiles help balance the sweet corn for a satisfying vegetarian soup you can serve hot or cold. Meat-lovers can add a little crumbled bacon on top.
Game plan: This soup can be frozen for up to 2 weeks in an airtight container. Freeze the reserved 1/2 cup of corn kernels separately. Defrost both the soup and the kernels in the refrigerator. Purée the soup in a blender to emulsify. Rewarm it if desired, then stir in the corn kernels and garnish with scallions.
- 1Remove the corn kernels from the cobs: Place a large container on a damp towel. Fold a paper towel into fourths and place it inside the container. Stand one ear of corn on the paper towel, using the stem as a handle. Using a paring knife, slice downward, letting the kernels fall into the container. Rotate the cob and continue until all the kernels have been removed; discard the cob. Repeat with the remaining corn (you should have about 6 cups of kernels). Discard the paper towel. Set aside 1/2 cup of the kernels.
- 2Melt the butter in a large saucepan over medium heat until foaming. Add the chipotles, 1/2 teaspoon of the salt, a pinch of black pepper, and about two-thirds of the scallions. (Set aside the remaining scallions to use as a garnish.) Cook, stirring occasionally, until the onions have softened, about 3 minutes.
- 3Add the corn kernels, remaining 1 1/2 teaspoons salt, milk, and water and stir to combine. Increase the heat to medium high and bring the mixture to a gentle boil. Reduce the heat to low and simmer until the flavors have melded and the corn kernels are crisp yet tender (not mushy), about 15 minutes.
- 4Set a fine-mesh strainer over a large, heatproof bowl. Using a blender, purée the soup in batches until smooth, removing the small cap (the pour lid) from the blender lid and covering the space with a kitchen towel (this allows steam to escape and prevents the blender lid from popping off). Pour the blended soup through the strainer, pressing on the solids with a rubber spatula; discard the solids.
- 5Stir in the reserved 1/2 cup corn kernels. Season with salt and pepper as needed. If serving chilled, refrigerate the soup until cold, at least 3 hours. Garnish with the remaining scallions and serve.