Make Ahead

Corn Soup with Corn Husk Stock

July 31, 2011
3 Ratings
Photo by James Ransom
  • Makes 4 cups
Author Notes

This recipe was born from 4 goals: 1. Corn is the star of the dish. 2. It is simple to make. 3. It is light eating on these summer nights. 4. Fennel has to be included.

I ran across an article by Vitaly Paley who explained the benefits of using corn husks to make stock. That was the inspiration that sent me to the Farmer's Market and spending the rest of the week-end perfecting this recipe. - SKK


Test Kitchen Notes

SKK's recipe is the perfect summer soup; refreshing, light, and vibrant with the flavor of sweet corn. If you want a really silky texture, process thoroughly or strain the soup before serving. And of course, use the freshest corn you can find -- it makes all the difference. —Annie "Smalls"

What You'll Need
  • Corn Husk and Fennel Stock
  • Husks from 3 ears of corn, about 3 cups
  • Fennel fronds from 2 fennel bulbs, roughly chopped
  • 1 onion, roughly chopped
  • 2 liters water (The water amount is approximate, the idea is to just cover the greens.)
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt (use 1/2 teaspoon per liter)
  • Corn Soup
  • 3 cups corn, cut off cob
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1 cup corn husk fennel stock
  • 2 teaspoons lime juice
  • 1/8 teaspoon cayenne
  • 2 tablespoons heavy cream
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Grated parmesan for garnish
  • Basil chiffonade for garnish
  1. Corn Husk and Fennel Stock
  2. Place ingredients in a stock pot, bring to boil and simmer for 45 minutes. When done, strain the stock and set aside.
  1. Corn Soup
  2. Bring water and honey to a rolling boil. Add corn and cook for four minutes. When done, drain and set aside. Be careful not to overcook the corn.
  3. In food processor place 1 cup of the corn husk fennel stock, lime juice, cooked corn, cayenne, heavy cream, and salt and pepper to taste. Process until desired smoothness.
  4. Serve either warm or at room temperature, garnish with about 1 tablespoon of grated parmesan cheese and basil chiffonade.
Contest Entries

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • QueenSashy
  • AntoniaJames
  • lorigoldsby
  • lapadia
  • BlueKaleRoad

Recipe by: SKK

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23 Reviews

Susan E. August 2, 2022
I am not sure how I misread the recipe, I made the broth with the corn 'cob', not the husks! The broth was very smooth and so light. I used it for the corn soup. I will try it with the 'husks next time ;)
For the soup, I put the corn and other ingredients in the quisinart but it did not puree well, it was very thick... so then I transfered it to my vitamix. It was better, but I had to then put it through a screen. It was very thick so I added a few more cups of the stock.... what did I do wrong? It looked beautiful in your photo .... my family said it was delicious. thank you, I will keep trying. :)
QueenSashy January 31, 2013
I just discovered this recipe, and wish I could accelerate the arrival of the corn season!
SKK January 31, 2013
Me too! You will enjoy it! I am so ready for summer.
AntoniaJames October 4, 2012
Just want to let you know that I've been making corn husk stock since discovering this recipe a few weeks ago. I haven't added fennel, because my intended uses did not warrant it, but the stock is simply amazing nonetheless. I've used it for cooking black beans, which gives them the most beautiful flavor, and to cook quinoa. I only wish I'd learned earlier in the year how fragrant and flavorful the husks are. Corn season has just ended here! Anyway, thanks so much for posting this. ;o)
SKK October 4, 2012
Thank you for your thoughtful comments, AJ. Love the idea about using it for quinoa!
CaliRoo August 17, 2012
I too had read about corn husk broth and a simple soup make with the kernels and broth. I tried this recipe and it came out too spicy (and I love spice) and bitter, which could not be corrected with additional touch of salt, honey or cream. I added 1/8 t of cayenne, and only 1 t of lime juice. The broth was sublime, and the corn sweet, so think I was too aggressive milking the kernels from the cob?? Sadly my soup went down the drain. --Net go light on cayenne and lime, to taste, and be careful not to take any cob when cutting and milking corn cobs.
SKK August 18, 2012
Appreciate your comments on the recipe! Possibly the corn wasn't ripe enough to begin with or had gone moldy? Just don't know. I am spoiled because of my garden and the quality of produce surrounding us. So much heat this year, and corn isn't doing well in a lot of the country. If you make this recipe again would you let us know what works?
lorigoldsby August 11, 2011
Congrats on your EP...maybe you will get a poem for this to go along with your s'mores!
SKK August 11, 2011
Well, one of my favorites Carl Sandburg in one stanza of his poem called Laughing Corn -

Some of the ears are bursting.
A white juice works inside.
Cornsilk creeps in the end and dangles in the wind.
Always--I never knew it any other way--
The wind and the corn talk things over together.
And the rain and the corn and the sun and the corn
Talk things over together.
Ascender August 7, 2011
What about steaming the corn in the corn husk stock? I'm thinking that as written, the corn would lose flavor into the cooking water that is discarded, but if the corn is steamed in the stock, the flavor would be preserved.
SKK August 7, 2011
I know it sounds counter-intuitive, but making the stock out of the corn husks and the silks, minus brown parts, gives it a wonderful corn flavor. Shocking but true! Try it out and let me know your thoughts.
lapadia August 5, 2011
Love this soup! Am learning something new every time I come to Food52...corn stock, from the husks or cobs or even infusing the recipe liquid used. Will be testing this out and perhaps tweaking my smoothie, too! Thanks for sharing, SKK :)
SKK August 5, 2011
Thank you, lapadia! Please let me know what your results.
lapadia August 7, 2011
I am waiting for our garden corn to be ready, can't wait to try your recipe. I bought the corn for the smoothie I posted even though I usually wait to use what we have available.
lapadia August 11, 2011
Congrats on the EP!!
lapadia October 18, 2011
Hi! Our corn is finally ready for harvest. I am in the middle of making corn husk broth, I de-kerneled the cob and put the cob in also. The kitchen smells wonderful. I'm impressed. I am making a spicy corn soup, might post it if I remember the amounts of ingredients I used...I have a habit of just tossing things in.
BlueKaleRoad August 2, 2011
I just made a chilled corn soup last week and it was the first time I'd used corn cobs for stock. Next time I'll try using corn husks...sounds wonderful with your added fennel!
SKK August 2, 2011
Looking forward to your comments on the comparison. Cheers!
SKK August 1, 2011
It is, isn't it? Like a best kept secret.
aargersi August 1, 2011
I was just reading about corn husk stock somewhere too ... this sounds terrific! Another thing to try ....
SKK August 1, 2011
Using the corn husks was quite enlightening and the flavor is so true. Please share your experiences with this!
lorigoldsby August 1, 2011
Very intriguing!
SKK August 1, 2011
I mean the reply above - best kept secret - as a response to lorigoldsby. Hit the wrong thing.