This soup recipe is a spin on a Midwest classic that uses fresh ingredients like ears of corn, apples, and carrots. Use the make-ahead directions for soup in a hurry.
Remove husks from corn. Scrub corn with a stiff brush to remove silk; rinse. Cut kernels from cobs (should have about 6 cups). In a 4-quart Dutch oven bring 2 quarts lightly salted water to boiling. Add corn; return to boiling. Cook, uncovered, for 1-12 minutes, stirring occasionally. Drain well; set aside.
In a large saucepan heat oil over medium heat. Add apple, carrot, onion, and garlic; cook and stir for 3 to 4 minutes or until vegetables are tender but not brown. Add chicken broth. Bring to boiling; reduce heat. Cover and cook 2 minutes more.
Cool vegetable mixture slightly, about 10 minutes. Add half the cooked corn (about 2-12 cups). Place vegetable mixture, one-third at a time, in blender jar or food processor bowl. Cover and blend or process until nearly smooth; return to large saucepan; add remaining corn; heat through. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
Peel and section limes; finely chop sections. Combine lime sections and thyme. To serve, ladle soup into bowls. Top with a pat of butter. Sprinkle with lime-herb mixture. Pass hot pepper sauce. Makes 6 to 8 servings.
Cut corn from cob by steadying one end on cutting board and slicing downward with a sharp knife.