During the holidays one of the things that helped me at dinnertime was having some meals in the freezer or cooking away in the slow cooker while I was at work. Now, on these cold winter nights, there is nothing like coming home to the smell of something good and warm that’s been cooking all day. It is all the better if what you have made is healthy, flavorful, and easy. This recipe fits the bill. It saved us many nights over the last couple months since I first tried it.
Some of the recipes I have tried in my slow cooker have had a lot of advance preparation in order to make the final dish taste as delicious as it can possibly be. My recipe for Slow-Cooker Chicken Tikka Masala, like many of the recipes in Slow Cooker Revolution by America’s Test Kitchen, certainly required some effort before you set the slow cooker and walked away. I continue to rely on some of the tricks and ingredients that America’s Test Kitchen recommends in this book to boost the flavors in slow-cooker recipes (fire-roasted tomatoes, honey, a fresh element at the end). While the results are always worth the effort, I was hoping to find some recipes with easier preparation. (America’s Test Kitchen seems to be thinking the same thing with their follow-up, Slow Cooker Revolution Volume 2: The Easy-Prep Edition.) This recipe has a little bit of preparation required, but there are enough shortcuts to the recipe that this should not take more than 20 minutes or so before you can walk away from the slow cooker.
The aroma will greet you immediately, but once you open the top of the slow cooker, you will find a rich, hearty soup with deep flavor. This recipe also allows everyone to customize the soup to their taste with the toppings. You can be healthy and eat it just as is or you can pack on as many toppings as you like. My husband just discovered last night how good this soup is with guacamole. We both like it with tostada chips and a little cheese. My mother added a bit of heavy cream at the end to give it some richness. See what combinations will suit you. Anyway you serve it, this recipe will be sure to be a new family favorite.
Slow-Cooker Chicken Enchilada Soup
For the soup:
- Canola oil
- 1 medium-large onion chopped (or use a bag of frozen chopped onion)
- 1 small-medium jalapeño seeds and ribs removed and finely chopped
- 3 cloves garlic minced
- 1 teaspoon chipotle chile in adobo minced
- 2 tablespoons chili powder
- 1 tablespoon ground cumin
- 1 tablespoon honey
- 14.5 ounces fire-roasted diced tomatoes
- 15 ounces tomato sauce
- 2 cups chicken stock
- 14 ounces frozen yellow and white corn
- 15 ounces black beans drained and rinsed
- 3 pounds boneless skinless chicken thighs
- Zest and juice of one lime
- 1 tablespoon fresh cilantro chopped, optional
For the toppings:
- Monterey Jack or cheddar cheese grated
- Sour cream
- onion diced
- Tostadas or tortilla chips
Pour 2-3 tablespoons of canola oil in a large skillet or Dutch oven over medium heat.
Sauté the onions and jalapeño in skillet, until softened or about 5 minutes.
Add the garlic, chipotle, chili powder, cumin, and honey and stir until well incorporated.
Add the diced tomatoes, tomato sauce, and stock to pan. Bring just to a boil, then remove from heat.
Spray bottom of slow cooker bowl with cooking spray.
Place the corn, beans, and chicken thighs in the slow cooker.
Pour tomato mixture over chicken and vegetables. (If you wish, you can pause here, put the slow cooker bowl in the refrigerator overnight, and set to cook the next day.)
Cover and cook on low for 6 to 7 hours.
Shred the cooked chicken using two forks and return to the slow cooker.
Add zest and juice of one lime and stir to mix well.
Add additional salt and pepper to taste.
If using, add chopped cilantro.
Serve topped with cheese, sour cream, guacamole, diced onion, and/or tostadas or tortilla chips.
Feel free to be a bit casual with the ingredients for the soup. If you have a bit more or less chicken because of packaging, don’t worry. Add more onion or a larger jalapeño if it suits you. This recipe doesn’t need to be extremely precise.
Like so many slow cooker recipes, this one freezes and reheats well. Just thaw overnight in the refrigerator and then reheat in microwave or on stove. Adapted from The Kitchn.com.