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Newport Independent - Newport, AR
  • Jim Hillibish: An easy Cajun soup will deliver you to New Orleans

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  • New Orleans, despite its French-Cajun traditions, remains a soup town. And the most ordered soup? Not zarzuela, not gumbo, not turtle, not chicken-andouille.
    It’s a cup of simple corn soup, appetizer to many a fancy meal downtown.
    Up here, we’d call it a corn chowder. It’s thick and one of those concoctions that consumes little bits of leftovers. Often it presents three meats or more, or likely contains combinations of lobster, shrimp and crab. You never know when you order it.
    Not to worry if you don’t have a plane ticket. It’s an easy dish to recreate. It’s not a bad idea to make it on Saturday for serving on Sunday, as its flavors meld and improve with age.
    NEW ORLEANS CORN SOUP
    • 1 cup chopped onion
    • 1 cup chopped green pepper
    • 1/2 cup chopped celery
    • 6 green onions, sliced
    • 1/4 cup light olive oil
    • 1/2 cup flour
    • 3 cups water
    • 1 14-ounce can stewed tomatoes
    • 2 cups tomatoes, peeled and chopped
    • 1 small can tomato paste
    • 32 ounces whole kernel corn
    • 3 cups cubed cooked ham
    • 1 1/2 pounds cooked smoked sausage, sliced
    • 1/8 t cayenne pepper (or to taste)
    • Salt, hot pepper sauce to taste
    Sauté onion, green pepper, celery and green onions in oil until tender, about 5 minutes. Add flour and cook until bubbly. Add water, stewed tomatoes and chopped tomatoes and tomato paste; mix well.
    Stir in corn, ham, sausage, cayenne pepper, salt and hot pepper sauce. Bring to a boil, stirring frequently. Reduce heat and simmer uncovered for 1 hour, stirring occasionally.
    Serves 6 to 8.
    Note: For a seafood version, substitute half and half for the water and your choice of crab, lobster, shrimp, scallops or a combination for the meat. This becomes a bisque.
    Jim Hillibish is a columnist at The Repository in Canton, Ohio. Reach him at jim.hillibish@cantonrep.com.
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