One easy way to jazz this chowder up is to top it with seafood. Cooked lobster meat is terrific, fancy and something to swoon over. No lobster? Try cooked shrimp — whole or cut into pieces.
Sweet Roasted Red Pepper Chowder
Preparation time: 15 minutes
Total time: 40 minutes
You can substitute a 12-ounce jar of roasted red peppers; drain before using. Add the peppers once the onions are browned.
Nonstick cooking spray or 2 Tbsp. canola oil
1 lb. red sweet peppers, cut into 1/2-inch pieces (about 3 cups)
2 cups chopped sweet onions (about 1 jumbo)
1 large russet or Yukon gold potato (10 ounces), peeled and cubed
1 cup vegetable broth
1 1/2 cups 1 percent milk or half-and-half
1/8 tsp. cayenne pepper or to taste
1 Tbsp. butter
Salt and pepper to taste
Croutons for garnish or a crusty baguette for serving
1/2 cup shredded (2 ounces) white sharp cheddar cheese, optional
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
Coat a 4-quart saucepan or Dutch oven with nonstick cooking spray and heat over medium-high heat. Add the peppers and give them a few mists of cooking spray. Cook, uncovered, for 15 minutes or until charred, stirring frequently. If you don’t have cooking spray, heat the canola oil, once hot, add the peppers and cook as directed above.
Add the onions and cook for 5 to 6 minutes more or until soft and golden brown, stirring occasionally. Stir in the potatoes and broth. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer, covered, for 12 minutes or until potatoes are very tender.
Coarsely mash up the potatoes a bit with a potato masher. Stir in the milk or half-and-half and a few pinches of cayenne pepper. Heat through.
Remove from heat; stir in butter and season to taste with salt and pepper. Divide among shallow soup bowls and top with croutons and, if using, cheese and a sprinkling of fresh parsley.
Serve with additional crusty bread if desired.
Adapted from Better Homes and Gardens magazine, September 2015 issue.
Tested by Susan Selasky for the Free Press Test Kitchen. Nutrition information not available.