No matter how hard I try, I’ve never really been a big fan of summertime soups – the last thing I want is to stand over the stovetop stirring a pot of steaming hot broth on a hot summer day, and most cold soups tend to make me feel like I’m sipping a giant salty smoothie with a spoon (my mother’s gazpacho being the one exception).
When the folks at Cuisinart Canada asked me if I’d take their Blend and Cook Soup & Beverage Maker for a spin, though, I figured I’d give summertime soups another try.
The Blend and Cook Soup & Beverage Maker is a powerful 900W blender. Like any other blender, you can use it to make cold smoothies, milkshakes, slushies and margaritas, or to crush ice for cocktails. Unlike other blenders, though, it also makes hot soups and beverages, thanks to a built-in heating plate that allows you to sauté, chop, cook and purée everything right in the blender. Handy, right?
Since fresh corn is just starting to show up at the market, I figured a simple corn soup might be a good test of the blender’s capabilities.
Overall, I was very impressed with the results. I was a little skeptical about sweating the onions right in the blender, but they came out just as soft and translucent as they would have in a regular saucepan. The soup came to a boil in a matter of minutes, and it quickly blended down to a perfect velvety consistency.
When all was said and done, I had a Monday-night dinner on the table in a little over half an hour, without heating up the house or creating a pile of dirty dishes. The blender jar is even dishwasher-safe once you detach it from its base (which can’t be submerged, since it contains the blender motor and heating elements), so it’s pretty easy to wash up afterwards.
My inspiration for this soup is Mexican-style grilled corn, which is lightly charred and then slathered in mayonnaise, sprinkled with crumbled cotija cheese, chile powder, and a squirt of fresh lime. It’s a surprisingly delicious combination of sweet, salty, spicy, tangy and creamy.
To translate all those lovely flavours into a bowl of soup, I started with a very simply seasoned corn chowder as my base, then added grilled corn niblets to capture that subtly smoky charred corn flavour. A sprinkling of cayenne pepper, crumbled cotija and finely chopped cilantro finish it all off, along with a wedge of lime to squeeze over the soup just before diving in.
It’s almost exactly like the real deal, only not nearly as messy and without those pesky corn bits that get stuck between your teeth. The only downside is that you can’t pretend to be a typewriter and make a “ding!” sound each time you reach the end of a row. (C’mon, admit it… you totally do that too.)
My only nitpick with this blender is that the built-in heating element does make the jar a little heavier than my regular blender’s, so it’s a little difficult to pour straight from the jar when it’s filled to capacity. It’s hardly the end of the world to ladle the soup out of the jar, though, so it’s not a big deal. (Also, I do have weak girlie arms, so my pathetic upper body strength is probably partially to blame.)
I think I just might finally understand this whole soup-in-the-summer concept. And seeing as the best of the summer produce is just starting to roll into the markets, I have a feeling this is the beginning of a beautiful friendship.
The Blend and Cook Soup & Beverage Maker was provided to me by Cuisinart Canada in exchange for creating this post. All opinions are 100% mine.
- 3 ears fresh corn, husked and cleaned
- 2 tsp olive oil
- ¼ cup finely chopped red onion
- 3 cups low-sodium chicken or vegetable broth
- 1 cup milk
- Salt and pepper
- Grilled corn (see Notes)
- Chopped fresh cilantro
- Crumbled cotija cheese (or crumbled feta)
- Cayenne powder
- Lime wedges
- Diced tomatoes
- Using a sharp knife, slice the kernels from 3 of the corn cobs into a medium bowl. Scrape as much of the remaining flesh from the cobs into the bowl, then discard the cobs.
- Pour the oil into the Blend and Cook Soup & Beverage Maker blender jar. Set the timer for 5 minutes, and the temperature on Medium. Once the oil is hot, add the onion. Cover and leave to cook until onion soft and translucent, stirring halfway through to ensure the onions are cooking evenly.
- When the timer goes off, add corn and broth to the blender jar. Set timer to 5 minutes and temperature on High. Once the mixture comes to a boil, reduce the heat to Medium, set the timer to 25 minutes and continue cooking until corn is bright yellow and tender.
- Once the cook time is completed, blend the soup on speed 1, gradually raising to speed 3, for about 5 minutes or until very smooth.
- Stir in the milk, and adjust seasoning with salt and pepper to taste. Serve the soup warm or chilled, as per your preference, accompanied by small bowls of various garnishes to allow everyone to top off their soup as they like.