Haudenosaunee Corn Soup
Corn soup in the Haudenosaunee culture is ubiquitous. It's everywhere, from the large stock pot simmering on the back burner in home kitchens to gala banquets featuring haute cuisine.
To not serve corn soup at a gathered meal is like an entirely missing course. Part soup, part stew, part snack, part meal, corn soup has been a mainstay of the Haudenosaunee diet for centuries. Breakfast, lunch or dinner, corn soup can be a side dish or the main meal. With protein, minerals, vitamins and fibre, corn soup is a satisfying, healthy and versatile meal.
Warm and nutritious, corn soup starts with the basic ingredients - lyed corn, beans, salt pork and water - but as with most food, each chef adds their own unique impression and level of mastery that sets the final preparation apart from the others.
Preparing corn soup is best when it's approached as a labour of love, as it takes a remarkable amount of time and work to arrive at the final product. Multiple steps, each with their own degree of complexity, are needed.
The main ingredient, corn, isn't found in supermarkets or mass-produced packaging. The process to create this unique ingredient has origins dating back hundreds of years and isn't an option for most homeowners without access to the proper types of firewood or the means to burn it. The corn itself is a special variety, harvested and dried in vast quantities in barns in a communal effort.
"It takes a village to make a bowl of corn soup" isn't too far off the mark. But the rewards of enjoying this delicious food with those who helped create it are as timeless as the dish itself.
The equally standard scone (pronounced "skon", the Haudenosaunee version of fry bread) is the perfect accompaniment to a bowl of corn soup. Fresh 'scone 'n ham' is a real crowd pleaser.
Here's one recipe for Haudenosaunee scone.
There are as many variations on the original recipe for corn soup as there are cooks who make it. The following list show a variety of recipes, with the one closest to the original listed first.
This isn't to say the other methods are any less valid. For purposes of speed and convenience, shortcuts are often taken. Sometimes, an imitation is better than none at all.
"Accept no substitutes" is important maxim to follow when searching for recipes or a meal of authentic corn soup. The following is an example of something that bears absolutely no resemblance to the real thing.
(Somehow, canned beef consommé and frozen lima beans don't make much of an attempt at authenticity.)