A cross between tortilla soup and chowder, this recipe for chicken and vegetable tortilla chowder can also serve as the filling for a pot pie!
Chicken and Vegetable Tortilla Chowder is a cross between my favorite soup recipe, tortilla soup, and a hearty chowder. Most times chowders are thickened with a flour and butter mixture, also known as a roux, but in this recipe I use corn tortillas blended with milk to create a thick chowder-style soup. This was one of those “clean out the refrigerator” recipes using whatever vegetables I had at my disposal. Two ingredients that are essential for most chowder recipes are potatoes and carrots. Adding other vegetables is just a bonus! The great thing about this recipe is if you add a little more chicken, peas and cilantro, it can make a great pot pie using your favorite empanada dough recipe.
Add 2 tablespoons of olive oil and 2 tablespoons of unsalted butter to a large Dutch oven-style pot and heat to medium heat. Add the onion, garlic, potatoes, carrots, poblano and serrano peppers. Season lightly with salt and pepper and cook for 6 to 8 minutes.
Add the tomatoes and cook for another few minutes. In the blender, combine the tortillas, 2 cups of milk and 1 tablespoon flour. Blend on high until smooth and pour into pot. This will give the chowder a great corn flavor and act as a thickener as well.
Add 6 cups of chicken broth, cooked chicken, spices and vinegar. Bring to a boil, taste for salt. Reduce to a simmer and continue cooking until chowder becomes thick; about 15 to 25 minutes.
While chowder is simmering and thickening, preheat 1 1/2 cups of canola oil to medium heat in a heavy saucepan. After 5 minutes, add a tortilla strip to make sure it’s hot enough. Add a handful of strips at a time and fry until crispy. Drain onto a plate lined with paper towels. Season lightly with salt. Garnish chowder with tortilla strips, avocado, cilantro and red pepper flakes.
If you are sensitive to gluten, you could eliminate the flour from the recipe. The corn tortillas are enough to thicken the chowder.
Try adding a handful of fried tortilla strips to any of your favorite soups, chili and chowder. It adds crunch and a mild corn flavor.