Maque choux (pronounced “mock shoe”) is a creamy, rich Cajun dish from southern Louisiana, consisting of corn, green bell peppers, tomatoes and onions and finished with a dash of hot sauce, which is considered normal for Cajun dishes. The trick to making good maque choux, is using the freshest corn available. Epicurious has a very good recipe, link here. The maque choux soup shown here is a take on the original dish.
This is a more complex dish than you might think when you first read the recipe. There is a step near the end of the recipe when you add some of the hot soup to the sour cream that requires “tempering”. Temper, or tempering, is a cooking term for what you do when you add a small amount of hot liquid to a cool liquid to prevent the cool liquid from cooking or setting. According to Linda’s Culinary Dictionary, the word temper means “to slowly bring up the temperature of a cold or room temperature ingredient by adding small amounts of a hot or boiling liquid. Adding the hot liquid gradually prevents the cool ingredient (such as the sour cream in this recipe) from cooking or setting.” Tempering is often called for in sauce making when you incorporate raw eggs into a hot dish.
To give this soup more of a chucky texture, the first batch of corn is blended and the second batch is not. To process the first batch, I’ve used a hand-held immersion blender, which is a great kitchen tool. A blender or a food processor will both work just fine.
Maque Choux Soup
Adapted from Southern Living – makes 6 cups
3 cups fresh corn kernels (about 6 ears)
1 medium-size orange bell pepper, chopped
1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon ground coriander
4 cups of chicken broth, divided into 2 cups each
Freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup sour cream
3 tablespoons plain white cornmeal
Few dashes of Tabasco, or other hot sauce
Fresh squeezed lime juice to taste
Toppings: cooked bacon, fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves, fresh lime juice, and a few cooked corn kernels
Stir together the corn and peppers. Place a large cast-iron skillet over medium-high heat until hot. Add a little olive oil to the skillet and cooking in two batches, add half of the corn & pepper mixture. Cook, stirring constantly, about 4 minutes or until the vegetables begin to char. Transfer the first batch to a 4-qt saucepan.
Add remaining corn & pepper mixture to the skillet. Cook, stirring constantly, about 4 minutes or until vegetables begin to char. Stir in cumin and coriander, and cook, stirring constantly, 2 or 3 more minutes or until fragrant. Set aside the second batch, but save a few of the nicely charred corn kernels for a garnish.
Add 2 cups of broth to the corn mixture in the saucepan. Stir, then process with a handheld blender for 1 to 2 minutes, or until smooth. Add the second batch of the corn mixture and the remaining 2 cups of broth to the saucepan. Bring to a light boil over medium heat, reduce heat to medium-low and simmer, stirring often, 5 minutes. Add salt, pepper, hot sauce, and lime juice to taste.
In a heatproof bowl, whisk together the sour cream and cornmeal, then whisk in 1/2 cup of the hot soup (this is called tempering). Then add that mixture to hot soup and simmer, stirring occasionally for 5 minutes, or until thickened. Garnish and serve right away.
This will be shared with Foodie Friday at Rattlebridge Farms, Miz Helen’s Country Kitchen Full Plate Thursday, Foodie Friday at Simple Recipes, Foodtastic Friday at Not Your Ordinary Recipes, and Seasonal Sunday at the Tablescaper.