A touch of cream plays off against this soup's subtly smoky flavor. Even though they'll will end up swimming in liquid, try to get really good grill marks on the chicken, corn, peppers and onion; it will make the final presentation more attractive.
You can thread the onion disks on metal skewers so they don't fall through the grates, or you can follow Tony Rosenfeld's fearless lead and just be careful when you turn them.
If you prefer, use chicken breasts instead of the more flavorful thighs, but add the breast meat to the broth about 10 minutes later so it doesn't dry out.
Servings: 6 - 8
- 8 boneless skinless chicken thighs, excess fat trimmed (about 1 1/2 pounds total)
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 teaspoons kosher salt, plus more as needed
- 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus more as needed
- Leaves from 2 sprigs thyme, chopped (2 teaspoons)
- 4 ears corn, husks and silks discarded
- 2 red bell peppers, stemmed, seeded and cut into 4 equal pieces
- 1 large red onion, cut into 1/2-inch disks
- 4 cups low-sodium chicken broth, plus more if needed
- 2 medium russet potatoes, peeled and cut into 3/4-inch pieces
- 1/4 cup heavy cream
- 12 basil leaves, coarsely chopped
- 2 scallions (white and light-green parts), cut crosswise into thin slices
Prepare the grill. If using a gas grill, preheat the grill to medium-high. If using a charcoal grill, light the charcoal or wood briquettes; when the briquettes are ready, distribute them evenly under the cooking area. For a medium-hot fire, you should be able to hold your hand about 6 inches above the coals for about 6 or 7 seconds. Have ready a spray water bottle for taming any flames. Lightly coat the grill rack with oil and place it on the grill.
Place the chicken on a large plate and sprinkle with 1 tablespoon of the oil, 1 teaspoon of the salt, 1/2 teaspoon of the black pepper and 1 teaspoon of the chopped thyme. Place the corn, peppers and onion on a large platter and sprinkle with the remaining 2 tablespoons of oil and the remaining salt and pepper, or to taste.
Place the chicken, corn, peppers and onion to the grill rack and cook for 3 minutes, turning occasionally, until each piece has good grill marks. Turn them and cook for 6 to 8 minutes, until all sides have good grill marks; the peppers and onions should be tender and the chicken should be just firm to the touch. Transfer the chicken and vegetables to a large cutting board. Place the peppers in a resealable plastic food storage bag and seal (to steam off the skins).
While the chicken and vegetables are grilling, combine the chicken broth and potatoes in a large heavy-bottomed pot over medium heat. Once the broth begins to bubble gently at the edges, cook for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, or until the potatoes are just tender. Remove from the heat.
Discard the skins, seeds and membranes of the peppers, then coarsely chop the peppers' flesh, the onions and chicken. Add them to the broth in the pot; mix well.
Use a paring knife to remove the corn kernels from the cob; add them to the pot along with the cream, the remaining teaspoon of chopped thyme and half of the basil. Cook over medium heat until the broth begins to bubble gently at the edges, then cook for about 20 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the chicken is cooked through and the flavors of the chowder have developed. Do not let the broth come to a boil; add broth to thin the mixture if desired; add salt and pepper to taste.
Divide among individual wide shallow bowls. Sprinkle each portion with some of the remaining basil and the scallions. Serve hot.
From food writer Tony Rosenfeld.
Tested by Amanda Erickson.
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