Corn Chowder with Spicy Red-Pepper Cream
A spoonful of Spicy Red-Pepper Cream added to the bowls of chowder at serving time brightens the taste of the corn without overwhelming the vegetable’s fresh flavor.
- 4 ears of corn, shucked
- 1 slice of bacon, chopped
- ¼ cup plus 2 tablespoons finely chopped onion
- 3 tablespoons finely chopped celery
- 3 small red potatoes, cut into ½-inch dice (½ pound)
- 1½ cups chicken stock or canned low-sodium broth
- 1 teaspoon thyme leaves
- 1 bay leaf
- Salt and freshly ground pepper
- 1½ cups milk
- Spicy Red-Pepper Cream (recipe follows)
Spicy Red Pepper Cream: (Makes about ½ cup)
- 1 Large or 2 small red bell peppers
- 2 teaspoons medium-hot chile powder or ¼ teaspoon cay-enne pepper
- 1½ teaspoons oregano leaves
- ½ tablespoon olive oil
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 1 tablespoon heavy cream
- Using a sharp knife, cut the corn kernels from the cobs. In a heavy casserole, cook the bacon over moderately low heat until slightly crisp, 3 to 4 minutes. Add the onion and the celery and cook until they are softened, about 4 minutes. Add the potatoes, the chicken stock, the thyme and the bay leaf. Season with salt and pepper and bring to a boil. Cover and simmer over low heat until the potatoes are just tender, about 10 minutes. Add the milk and simmer for 5 minutes. Add the corn kernels and simmer until they are tender, 3 to 4 minutes. Remove the bay leaf and then season the corn chowder with salt and pepper.
- Ladle the corn chowder into soup bowls and top each serving with a spoonful of the red-pepper cream.
Spicy Red Pepper Cream:
- Roast the pepper over a gas flame or under the broiler, turning, until charred all over. Transfer the pepper to a bowl, cover with plastic and let steam for 20 minutes. Peel the pepper and discard the core, ribs and seeds. Coarsely chop the pepper.
- In a blender or mini-processor, puree the pepper with the chile powder, oregano, oil and salt. Transfer the puree to a small bow land then stir in the heavy cream.