ZESTY CORN AND ROASTED RED PEPPER CHOWDER
Prepare roasted red pepper and set aside.
In a large heavy saucepan, melt butter or heat oil over moderate heat; add onion and celery and sauté, stirring frequently, until onion and celery are tender but not browned. Stir in potatoes, if used, cream-style corn, milk, whole-kernel corn, pimento, and seasonings. Bring mixture to a simmer; reduce heat and continue to cook, stirring occasionally, for 10 minutes or until chowder is heated through and potatoes are fork tender.
To serve, ladle into bowls and garnish with a sprinkle of coarsely crumbled crisp-cooked bacon or minced parsley, if desired. Accompany with crisp oyster crackers, if desired.
Note: To roast pepper, place pepper on a rack in a broiler pan. Broil pepper, about 4 inches from Heat source, charring all sides, turning pepper(s) as needed. Place peppers in a brown paper bag or wrap in foil; seal bag or foil and allow to stand at room temperature for about 20 minutes. Remove charred peel, stem, and seeds. Cut into desired size pieces. Or, may use commercial roasted sweet red pepper available at Kroger.
Note: Vegetarians may use soy milk and omit bacon.
Variation: May add 1 cup small (standard) or medium (select) oysters to chowder the last few minutes of cooking, if desired.