Monday, August 31, 2009

GRILLED CORN, RED PEPPER & TOMATO CHOWDER

Tomato soup is tops on my list of comfort food. I love Tomato Basil Bisque, Fire Roasted Tomato Bisque, Creamy Tomato Soup, Smoky Tomato Soup, and Roasted Tomato Soup. I thought I had tried tomato soup in all its forms, but I was wrong. Grilled Tomato Soup is the best one yet, and my new fave.

The June 2009 issue of Cooking Light had this recipe, titled "Roasted Corn, Pepper and Tomato Chowder," (Italics mine). But the oven was not used. Instead, the veggies were grilled. It sounded great, but I thought it needed a title change to more accurately reflect the cooking method used. CL topped the soup with crumbled blue cheese and fresh chives. I had chives in my garden, but no blue cheese. After tasting the finished soup, I didn't think it needed chives or blue cheese. I cut some cream cheese into little pieces and dropped it on the soup. It wasn't bad, but I still say the soup should stand alone.

Grilling the veggies is easier and faster than roasting them in the oven, and the grilling sweetens and intensifies the flavor, just as if the veggies had been roasted. CL pureed everything, even the corn. I opted to add the corn back in after everything else was pureed. Hubby and I both loved this soup and will be having it again, when more tomatoes are available. (Hubby pulled our plants out and planted green beans because we had another tomato plant ready to produce. But the little gecko that frequents our patio has been eating the tomatoes before they ripen, leaving us with nothing. Oh, well, there's always the farmer's market.)

Grilled Corn, Red Pepper & Tomato Chowder
Adapted from Cooking Light
Rating: 10 out of 10

INGREDIENTS:
3 ears shucked corn
3 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil, divided use
3 red bell peppers, quartered and seeded
1-1/2 lbs. tomatoes, halved and seeded* (about 4 big ones)
4 cups chopped onion (about 2 medium)
2-3 (14 oz.) cans fat-free, lower sodium chicken broth
1/4 tsp. sea salt (or more if needed)
1/4 tsp. black pepper

Optional garnishes: 1/4 cup (1 oz.) crumbled blue cheese
2 Tbsp. chopped fresh chives

Heat grill to medium-high heat (about 400-425F). Rub corn with 1 Tbsp. EVOO. Arrange bell peppers, skin side down, and corn in a single layer on a grill rack; grill 5 minutes, turning corn as needed to keep from burning. Add tomatoes; grill 5-10 more minutes or till peppers and tomatoes are charred.

Keep turning corn to keep it from getting too charred, and remove it when you see it's done enough. Let peppers and tomatoes get nicely charred skins, and do not turn them.

Remove veggies from heat; cool 10 minutes or till they can be easily handled. Peel skins from peppers and tomatoes, if desired, then coarsely chop. Cut kernels and scrape milk from corn cobs; set aside separately.

Heat remaining 2 Tbsp. oil in 3-1/2 to 4-quart heavy pot over medium heat. Saute onion till almost caramelized**, about 30-40 minutes, stirring as needed and reducing heat if necessary. (You can cover the pot after you reduce heat, and onions should cook without burning, but be sure to check them.) Stir in tomato-pepper mixture, 1 can chicken broth, salt and pepper; bring to boil; cover, reduce heat to low and cook about 30 minutes to blend flavors. Using an immersion blender, puree soup (or puree in blender in batches and return to pot). Taste soup to adjust seasonings, adding more salt and pepper if needed. Add corn and enough additional broth to bring soup to desired consistency. Taste again to see if more seasonings are needed. Garnish as desired. Yield: 5-6 servings

* To seed tomatoes, gently squeeze them until juice, seeds and membrane begin to come out. With fingers, pull out remaining seeds and membrane.

**You do not have to caramelize onions if you don't want or don't have time. I did so because I prefer their sweet, rich taste. Caramelizing the onions definitely adds more flavor to the soup, but it will still be delicious if you just saute the onions till transparent, about 10 minutes.

16 comments:

Denise said...

I love that you grilled everything, the flavor must have been out of this world.

Queen B. said...

that looks sooooooo amazing !

Kerstin said...

I love tomato soup too and this looks so good with the corn in there! And I agree with you about caramelizing onions - definitely worth the extra time!

Cinnamon Girl aka Reeni♥ said...

The roasted veggies sound incredible in this, Judy! I bet the cream cheese was delicious in here! A nice contrast.

Trish said...

What a great way to make tomato soup...love it. I love comfort food like this and we certainly are going into that season again where this will be high on the list...soups for sure!

Barbara Bakes said...

I'm usually not a tomato soup fan, but roasted tomato soup sounds delicious!

Coleen's Recipes said...

This sounds SO delicious!!

My Carolina Kitchen said...

What a gorgeous soup Judy. Our farmers market still has corn and tomatoes (we have a few remaining tomatoes in our herb garden). Great time to try your soup.
Sam

Sophie said...

What an impressive & tasty looking soup!!

Yum!

biz319 said...

I LOVE everything about this soup - except I would leave out the onions!

Thanks for sharing Judy! :D

Debbie said...

Roasted tomato soup sounds wonderful!

Juliana said...

Oh! This soup looks delicious, I am sure that roasting the vegetable give an special flavor to the soup.

teresa said...

oh yum, this looks absolutely fantastic!

shanthi said...

This is yummy and different. Do visit my blog when time permits http://shanthisthaligai.blogspot.com/

Chrissy said...

THANK YOU SOOOO MUCH FOR POSTING THIS!!!!! I couldn't find my cooking light mag w/ it.. THIS SOUP IS AMAZING!!! I have made it multiple times and it always comes out great.. and is very easy to eat for a week!

Judy said...

Chrissy, So glad I could help. I agree the soup is amazing.