Grilling winter greenhouse peppers and tomatoes in a frypan, as well as the corn, heightens their sweetness, and blue cheese provides a pungent counterpoint in this chowder. Substitute crumbled goat cheese or feta, if you prefer.
Yield: 6 servings
3 red bell peppers, halved and seeded
3 whole ears corn, husks & silks removed
1 1/2 pounds tomatoes, halved, seeded, and peeled (about 4)
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
4 cups chopped onion (about 2 medium)
3 (14-ounce) cans fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup (1 ounce) crumbled blue cheese
2 tablespoons chopped fresh chives
Heat frypan to medium-high heat.
Arrange bell peppers, skin side down and grill 5 minutes until slightly charred. Remove and set aside in a large bowl. Then add ears of corn to frypan in a single layer and char slightly, turning occasionally to cook all sides. Remove and set aside with the peppers. Add tomatoes to pan. Grill 5 minutes or until slightly charred. Remove from heat and add to other vegetables in bowl. Cool all vegetables 10 minutes. Coarsely chop tomatoes and bell peppers. Cut kernels from ears of corn; add to tomato/pepper mixture.
Heat oil in a large Dutch oven over medium heat. Add onion; cook 7 minutes or until tender, stirring occasionally. Stir in tomato mixture; cook 3 minutes, stirring occasionally. Increase heat to high, and stir in broth. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat, and simmer 30 minutes or until vegetables are tender. Cool 20 minutes.
Place one-third of tomato mixture in a blender; process until smooth or use a hand blender in cooking pot, until soup is desired consistency. Over medium heat, cook chowder until thoroughly heated. Stir in salt and black pepper. Ladle about 1 1/2 cups chowder into each of 6 bowls; top each serving with 2 teaspoons cheese and 1 teaspoon chives.