The bars and watering holes of Central American are incredible places. Open plan, laidback affairs with doors swung open to the midday sun in the hopes of catching some non-existent breath of cooling wind. Neon cerveza lights flickering above wooden countertops emblazoned with ice cream adds and chalkboard menus.
These menus are a minefield of equal part tourist traps and incredible local fare. Here is a basic recipe for a soup I had a few times while in Costa Rica, the grilled corn adds great texture while bringing the smoky sweetness up a few notches.
1 White Onion
4 Medium Potatoes
1 Vegetable Stock Cube
500g Frozen Sweetcorn
3 Corn on the Cob
-In a large, heavy bottomed saucepan melt the butter on a medium heat with a small pinch of salt.
-Finely dice the leek and the onion, don’t be too worried about precision, it’s going to get blitzed later.
-Fry the onion and leek until translucent and sweet.
-Peel and finely dice the potatoes.
-Add the potato chunks to the pan along with the vegetable stock cube.
-Half fill your pot with boiling water and boil the potatoes until you can cut them easily with a knife.
-Add the frozen sweetcorn to the boiling water and cook for about two minutes.
-Now you can blend the soup with a blender, food processor, soup gun or whatever you can think. Or you can just leave it chunky but I like it smooth.
-Once you soup is done, get a griddle pan or frying pan onto a really high heat. The hottest it will go. It should be smoking. Get the extractor fan on and open a window.
-Strip your corn cobs down.
-Get them on the pan and rotate every few minutes until they take on a golden charred colour and are cooked through. About ten minutes.
-Mix the charred corn through the soup and serve with a little sliced coriander.
This recipe is an incredible accompaniment to an afternoons light drinking. Or if serving it as part of a meal, try it in a hot class with a dollop of sour cream on top. It’ll launch you straight to the beaches of the Caribbean. I guarantee.