WaPo Wednesday- Grilled Chicken and Corn Chowder

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This week’s WaPo Wednesday recipe comes at the perfect time of year. Summer’s produce is still going strong, and this soup highlights corn, peppers and onions by enhancing their flavors on the grill. Basil infuses into the soup, and serves as a fresh garnish. But, for now, a bit of a chill has crept into the air. It’s cloudy and occasionally raining, and that always puts me in the mood for soup.

My soup, adapted from this recipe from The Washington Post, gets a boost of homey comfort by adding shredded cheese. Feel free to leave the cheese out if you like, as the soup is plenty hearty without it.

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Grilled Chicken and Corn Chowder

serves 8-10

Ingredients

  • 2-3 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • 2-3 ears corn
  • 1 large onion, red or yellow, peeled and sliced into 3/4 inch thick slices.
  • 1 red bell pepper
  • 1 green bell pepper
  • 8 cups good chicken stock, low-sodium preferably
  • 3 medium potatoes, yukon gold or russet, peeled and diced into 1/2 to 3/4 inch pieces*
  • large handful fresh basil leaves (about 1 cup loosely packed), chiffonaded
  • olive oil or vegetable oil to coat vegetables and chicken
  • 1 teaspoon dry thyme (you can substitute 2 teaspoons fresh thyme)
  • kosher salt
  • pepper
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 1 cup shredded cheese, such as cheddar or Monterey Jack
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    Directions

    Coat chicken, corn, onions and peppers with about 2 tablespoon2 of oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Sprinkle thyme over chicken. Grill chicken to cook thoroughly. Great grill marks are a plus for taste and presentation. Grill vegetables on all sides to develop grill marks and a bit of a char, cooking all the way through. Try to keep onions intact when flipping. For the peppers, find the hottest spot on your grill and char until the skin is blackened all the way around. 

    Place the peppers in a sealable bag to that they may steam for 8-10 minutes. This will allow you to easily peel off the skin.

    While the peppers steam, heat chicken stock and potatoes until they come to a gentle boil. Cover and reduce the heat to a simmer. Cook for 10 minutes.

    Dice chicken, remove kernels from corn cob, dice onions and dice skinned peppers. Place chicken, corn, peppers and onions in pot. Add half of the fresh basil.

    Simmer with lid slightly cracked open for another 10 minutes.

    Add cream and continue to simmer uncovered for 5 minutes. Do not bring to a boil after adding cream. This could “break” the soup.

    Add cheese and stir until melted through.

    Add salt and pepper to taste.

    Server garnished with fresh basil. 

    *you can dice the potatoes ahead of time-up to 4 hours. Place diced potatoes in water and cover. This prevents them from browning.

    The Wrap-Up

    This recipe takes a bit of time and effort due to grilling, but the resulting depth of flavor is well worth the effort. I liked the combination of flavors and textures, with the crunchy corn, and velvety potatoes. Now, if you don’t have an outdoor grill, you can char the peppers in the oven under the broiler, and use a grill pan to get grill marks and develop flavor.

    I think what I’ll enjoy most about this soup is taking it out of the freezer in the winter, and tasting summer’s goodness.

    Sources- I must admit (hides head in shame) that this week I did not get to any farmers markets (calms shaky hands) so all of my ingredients came from the (gasp) grocery store. And actually, t’was not bad, I have to admit!

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