The mellow flavor of charred (blackened) red bell peppers adds a big flavor boost to this chowder. Don’t worry – charring the red bell peppers isn’t a lengthy process, as it can sometimes be. The chopped peppers are charred right in the pan, then chopped onions and potatoes are added, along with chicken broth, fresh parsley and a good amount ‘half and half’ cream…. plus a dash of cayenne pepper. Add some crusty bread – and you’ll have dinner on the table in about 45 minutes!
I made a few changes from the original recipe simply because I’m from the part of the States we call New England. Massachusetts to be exact, where a chowder (chow-da) should be thick and creamy, full of chunks of potatoes, onions and, quite often, clams. So I substituted ‘half and half’ cream for the milk AND there is no ‘mashing down’ of the potatoes, onions and red bell peppers as suggested in the original. ; o )
++ Whole milk, 2% milk or 1% can be used instead of the ‘half and half’.
++ “Half and half” is a mixture of half heavy cream and milk commonly found in the States. In Canada, half-and-half is 10% cream.
- non-stick cooking spray
- 3 cups roughly chopped red bell peppers ++ approx. 2 large
- 2 cups roughly chopped yellow onion ++ approx. 1 1/2 large
- 2 cups peeled russet potatoes, chopped into 1/2′ cubes ++ approx. 1 russet potato
- 2 cups chicken broth ++ vegetable broth can be substituted
- 2 cups ‘half and half’ OR milk ++ If using milk, you may want to use more cornstarch to thicken the chowder.
- 1 Tbs. chopped fresh parsley – ++ plus some to sprinkle on top of chowder
- 1/8 – 1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper
- 1/2 to 3/4 tsp. salt
- 1/4 tsp. pepper
- 1 Tbs. cornstarch
METHOD ‘Dutch Oven’ – – A large heavy cooking pot with a lid.
Spray bottom of a 4-quart Dutch Oven with non-stick cooking spray – heat over medium-high heat for a few minutes. Add 3 cups roughly chopped red bell peppers. Cook, UNCOVERED, 12 – 15 minutes until peppers are charred, stirring occasionally.
Lower heat a bit. Add 2 cups roughly chopped yellow onion. Cook, stirring occasionally, for 5 to 6 minutes, until onion becomes translucent. Add 2 cups peeled russet potatoes, chopped into 1/2′ cubes, and 2 cups chicken broth. ++ Vegetable broth may be substituted.
Bring to a boil – reduce heat. Simmer, COVERED, 12 minutes – or until potatoes are tender.
Add 2 cups ‘half and half’ (or milk), 1 Tbs. chopped fresh parsley, 1/8 – 1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper, 1/2 – 3/4 tsp. salt and 1/4 tsp. pepper. Simmer, UNCOVERED, until chowder is heated through, stirring occasionally.
Place 3/4 cup of the chowder liquid in a mug and mix in 1 Tb. cornstarch. Slowly add to chowder, stirring slowly until chowder thickens. ++ If using milk, you may want to use more than 1 Tbs. cornstarch.
Serve with some chopped fresh parsley sprinkled on top of chowder. (Thick ‘n Creamy Charred Red Bell Pepper and Potato Chowder is even better when eaten the next day.) Enjoy!
++ Recipe adapted from Better Homes and Gardens (Sept. 2105).