While we are still experiencing unsettled and cold weather I like to put on a big pot of soup, something hot and delicious to warm the house and lift my spirit. This chowder is just the ticket--spicy and full of flavor--it's a big bowl of sunshine. It's a quick fix too, even if you roast your own peppers, which can be done ahead of time. I usually roast my own because I love the smell of roasting peppers and the extra heat from the oven really warms up the kitchen on an overcast, cold and crappy day. But even if you're in a rush to get something on the table, bottled peppers are pretty dang good.
Roasted Red Pepper and Corn Chowder
2 red peppers, roasted, peeled, diced*
2 TB EVOO
1 onion, diced
5 medium red or yellow potatoes, diced about 2 lbs.
2 TB butter
3 stalks celery, sliced
16 oz frozen petite corn
3 cloves garlic, minced
1-2 TB red chili pepper
6 c vegetable or chicken stock
7 oz can, diced green chilies
14 oz can evaporated milk or 14 oz cream
cilantro, washed and minced for garnish
*You can roast your own red peppers or if you are in a crush use bottled Roasted Red Peppers from the grocery store. To roast your own red peppers, heat oven to 375. Line a cooking sheet with foil. Wash and dry peppers and place on foiled sheet. Roast in oven for 20 min., rotate the peppers and roast another 20 min. Turn peppers again and continue to roast until they are somewhat charred and collapsing in on themselves. Remove them from the oven and put them in a large bowl and cover the bowl with the foil or a large plate and let them rest for at least 30 min. They need to cool so they are easy to peel. When they have cooled remove the skin with your fingers, remove the stems, seeds and veins and dice them. Set aside. Try not to eat too many, you’ll want to save at least three quarters for the chowder.
Put a large heavy bottomed pan over medium heat and add the EVOO. When the oil begins to shimmer add the onions and a pinch of salt and cook stirring occasionally, cook 3 min. Add the potatoes and another generous pinch of salt and cook, stirring occasionally another 5 min. Make a hot spot in the bottom of the pan and add the butter. When it has melted, stir combining all ingredients and add the celery and corn and another pinch of salt. Continue cooking for another 3-5 min. to brown the corn. Add the garlic and the chili powder and stir vigorously to combine everything. Cook until fragrant and spicy. Add the stock, roasted peppers and chilies, stir to combine and bring to the boil. Reduce the heat to simmer, cover the pot and cook for 5-8 min., just until the potatoes are tender.
Add the milk or cream, season with salt and pepper to taste and return just to the boiling point. Serve in large open bowls garnished with cilantro.
This recipe can be vegetarian or vegan with just a few adjustments. Just use vegetable broth, and for vegans, leave out the cream. You can still make a chowder like soup by mashing a few of the potatoes to thicken the stock. This recipe is always gluten free no matter how you prepare it.
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