This is a creamy, hearty soup perfect for summer colds (like mine this week). It's easy and quick to make, and very adaptable-- you can turn it into a creamy chowder or leave it unblended; you can add crab, shredded chicken or tofu to turn it into a main meal; you can adjust the level of spiciness as you like.
You'll need (serves 6 appetizers or 4 main courses):
5 ears of corn
2 medium leeks
1-3 chipotle chilies in adobo
1 8oz bottle clam juice (optional)
1 bay leaf
2T tomato paste
2c chicken stock or water
Cut corn kernels off cobs with a large sharp knife. An easy way to do this is to break the ears in half and place one half cut-side down on a cutting board; then angle your knife slightly towards the cob and cut down.
Place the shorn cobs in a pot and cover with milk. Add clam juice, if using, and bay leaf. Bring to a boil, then simmer, stirring often.
In the meantime, clean and thinly slice leeks. Slice onion. Melt butter in a large skillet. Add onion and leeks and salt and pepper. Cook about 5 minutes, until leeks turn bright; then add corn and cook 10 more minutes, stirring often. Add tomato paste and chipotle chiles and cook 5 more minutes.
Remove corn cobs and bay leaf from milk. Add corn mixture. Cook about 5 minutes.
Blend soup in batches and return to pot. Add salt and pepper to taste. Thin with chicken stock, water, or milk.