So once again I have to apologize for talking politics here on the food blog, but this is truly a strange time to be a DC-ian. Apparently the whole world may end — or maybe not!? — if this political deadlock doesn’t get resolved by the end of the day today. So that’s one big thing. But the other big thing is that apparently all these secret Congressional negotiations are going on at my favorite DC Mexican restaurant, Tortilla Coast!
Honestly? It makes perfect sense. Tortilla Coast is just one of those places that’s perfect for everything. I celebrated both my 23rd and my 29th birthdays there, and as anyone who has gone from age 23 to age 29 can attest, those were vastly different affairs. I’ve taken my mom there. Three years ago, I announced my engagement to some friends there. And five years ago, my friends and I had a night there that isn’t really fit for discussion on the blog. Or anywhere, really. It involved boats, serial killers, accidental trips to Maryland, treadmills, bribes, lost shoes, and Sarah Palin. And vomit. Sorry to report it, but it’s true. There was vomit.
[TMI? TMI. Sorry. We're friends by now, so I figured you'd forgive me.]
Anyway, given all the significant life events I’ve marked at Tortilla Coast, where else do you think Congress be meeting to try to hammer all this nonsense out? Gotta be Tortilla Coast. Where the margaritas are plentiful and where they don’t have anything quite as fresh or appetizing as this spicy, Southwestern-ish soup, but where they do have something called “Bonedaddy’s Nachos.”
…which, I can say from experience, is also delicious.
CHIPOTLE CHICKEN CORN CHOWDER (adapted from Brown Eyed Baker)
1 can chipotle chiles in adobo sauce (you won’t need the whole can, just one chile and up to 1 tbsp sauce)
2 tbsp unsalted butter
1 poblano pepper, seeded and chopped fine
1 red bell pepper, seeded and chopped fine
1 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp dried oregano
1/2 tsp dried thyme
6 cloves garlic, minced
2 tbsp flour
3 cups milk (I used skim, but 2% or whole would make a richer chowder)
2 cups low-sodium chicken stock
6 small red potatoes, peeled and diced small
1 cup shredded pepperjack cheese, plus more for topping
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese, plus more for topping
1 lb boneless, skinless chicken breasts, poached and shredded (alternatively, you can use rotisserie chicken)
1 15-oz can sweet corn, drained
1 15-oz can cream-style corn (undrained)
1 cup crushed tortilla chips, plus more for topping
Juice of 2 limes (about 1/4 cup)
Salt and pepper
Chopped cilantro, for garnish (optional)
1. Remove one chile from can and mince it. Remove 1+ tsp of the adobo sauce and set it aside to be used later (I used closer to 1 and 1/2 tbsp, but I like things spicy).
2. Melt butter in large Dutch oven or stock pot over medium heat. Add poblano pepper, red pepper, chipotle pepper, cumin, thyme and oregano, and saute 5-7 minutes, until peppers soften. Add garlic and cook an additional 30 seconds.
3. Stir in flour and cook until absorbed, about a minute. Slowly stir in milk and chicken broth, scraping up any bits from the bottom of the pan as you stir.
4. Add potatoes and bring mixture to a boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer 10-15 minutes, or until potatoes are tender and can be easily pierced with a knife. Add shredded cheeses a handful at a time, stirring after each addition until cheese is completely melted.
5. Stir in chicken, both cans of corn, tortilla chips, lime juice and the reserved adobo sauce. Cover and cook an additional 10 minutes, or until soup is completely heated through. Taste, and adjust seasonings as needed (mine needed a good deal of salt). Serve immediately, garnished with cilantro, cheese, and tortilla chips.
This was awesome and was an extra-big hit with my husband. You can dump whatever veggies you like in here — I added some diced carrot with the potatoes because I had some that needed to get used. The crushed tortilla chips really add a lot here, so don’t omit them!
Oh, and one other thing – this makes a ton of food. We had it for two meals and I froze the rest of it for a
don’t feel like rainy cooking day. Also, if you reheat this as leftovers, you may need to add a little extra chicken broth or milk (and re-season accordingly), because it definitely thickens up with all those potatoes.