DIY Xmas: Grilled corn soup with crispy polenta and turkey ham

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By Rebecca Lynne Tan, Eunice Quek

The Straits Times

Tuesday, Dec 17, 2013

  • Christmas is a week away and if you are starting to fret about what to cook for your dinner party, stop.

    Six Singaporean chefs from five restaurants have put together festive recipes for home cooks including appetisers, main courses and a dessert.

    They have come up with a total of seven recipes that can each serve eight people.

    Bryan Chia and Petrina Loh, both 31, chef-owners of Morsels, a sharing plates restaurant in Mayo Street off Jalan Besar, whip up a recipe for a warm beef tripe and cannellini bean salad with roasted Roma tomatoes.

    They also share a recipe for a roast lamb shoulder with glutinous rice stuffing - a slightly Asian take on traditional versions of stuffing, which usually feature bread.

    Joseph Yeo, 31, chef and co-owner of SPR MRKT, a bistro in McCallum Street, offers a festive version of his bistro's grilled corn soup that includes crispy polenta cubes and chunks of turkey ham.

    For a decadent spin on Yuletide fare, chef-owner Bjorn Shen, 31, of Artichoke at Sculpture Square, dishes up a chicken double down burger with a honey butter glazed grilled ham.

    It is a slice of ham wedged between two chicken breasts, which form the "bun" for the burger - there is no bread here.

    He secures the burger with a candy cane instead of a toothpick, which imparts a hint of peppermint to the patty.

    Meanwhile, Matthew Mok, 38, of private dining restaurant The Rabbit Stash in Alexandra Road, pays homage to his roots with a Peranakan-style pumpkin curry that includes a spicy rempah and coconut cream drizzled over the dish.

    For dessert, let your guests help themselves to frozen berries, hot white chocolate sauce and a crunchy crumble, or plate it for them if you prefer.

    The dessert is by pasty chef and owner of Patisserie G, Gwen Lim, 40. It is inspired by a dessert she had at The Ivy in London, during her university days in the late 1990s.

    The best part about some of these chefs' recipes is that they offer ways to use up leftovers.

    Chop up ham and turkey and shuck yesterday's grilled corn to make chef Yeo's grilled corn soup.

    And in place of chicken breasts for chef Shen's chicken double down burger, use turkey.

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  • 8 cobs of corn
  • Unsalted butter to brush the corn cobs
  • 800ml vegetable oil
  • 240g chopped white onions
  • 80g minced garlic
  • 2.4 litres chicken stock
  • 160g unsalted butter, softened
  • Salt to taste
  • Ground white pepper to taste
  • For the crispy polenta cakes
  • 320g instant polenta
  • 20g fresh or dried thyme
  • 80g grated parmesan cheese
  • Salt to taste
  • Ground white pepper to taste
  • 400g plain flour
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 800g Panko or Japanese breadcrumbs
  • 200g turkey ham, chopped (or chunks of leftover ham and turkey)
  • 20g parsley, chopped
  • 1. Brush four cobs of corn with butter and grill until kernels are slightly charred. Alternatively, if you do not have a grill, wrap the buttered cobs in foil and grill directly over the gas burners for about 10 minutes on high heat.
  • 2. Slice off the kernels from both the grilled and raw cobs. Set aside a small portion of the grilled kernels for garnishing later. Set aside the remaining kernels.
  • 3. Place the cobs, shorn of their kernels, in a mediumlarge saucepan or pot. Add in 1.6 litres of the chicken stock and boil on medium heat for 45 minutes.
  • 4. Meanwhile, in another medium-large saucepan, heat 8Tbs of the vegetable oil on medium heat. When the oil is hot, add the chopped onions and fry until they soften and become translucent.
  • 5. Add the minced garlic and fry until fragrant.
  • 6. Add in all the corn kernels except the portion you have set aside for garnishing. Cook until the kernels soften.
  • 7. Remove the corn cobs from the chicken stock, and pour the stock into the saucepan with the corn kernels. Bring it to a boil and set aside to cool.
  • 8. Blend the soup with an immersion blender. Strain it through a fine sieve. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Set aside.
  • 9. To make the polenta, heat remaining chicken stock and thyme in a saucepan on medium heat. Bring it to a boil.
  • 10. When the stock is boiling, stir it with a whisk and gradually add in the polenta, whisking as you go along.
  • 11. As the polenta begins to thicken and come together, add in the grated parmesan then season with salt and pepper to taste.
  • 12. Spread the polenta on a 20cm by 20cm tray. Leave to set and cool.
  • 13. Once it is cool, cut it into 2cm cubes, or a desirable size.
  • 14. Lightly coat the polenta cubes with plain flour, then the beaten eggs followed by the panko. Set aside.
  • 15. In a clean saucepan, heat up the remaining oil on medium heat. When the oil is hot, fry the polenta cubes in several batches, depending on the size of your pan. Fry until golden brown, drain and place them on paper towels.
  • 16. To serve, heat up the soup. Dish into bowls and garnish with polenta cubes, turkey ham, parsley and grilled corn kernels.
  • Serves eight.
  • Note: You can use leftover ham, roast turkey, polenta and grilled corn for the soup. If using leftover polenta, form into balls before coating with flour, egg wash and breadcrumbs.