Thursday, September 27, 2012

Caliente Crock Pot Chicken and Vegetable Soup

A spicy and veggie-filled twist on traditional chicken tortilla soup.
It may still be 90-plus degrees here in sunny Southern California but technically it’s Fall so screw it, I’m making soup. While all you East Coasters are enjoying your scarves and boots, we’re sweltering over here. But I guess it’s time to quit complaining and bust out the Crock Pot.

Pinterest and the recipe sites are overflowing with several variations of Chicken Tortilla and Chicken Enchilada soups. This is the first one I ran across and it looked pretty good so I decided to base my recipe off of it.

I followed the original pretty closely, however, I didn’t add any extra salt (say no to excess sodium!), I tossed in zucchini and carrots (the more veggies, the better!), I increased the amount of green chiles (because they are tasty), and used canned tomatoes with jalapeƱos (to turn up the heat).

Note: If you are making this for little ones or you don’t like spicy food, you can use plain canned tomatoes instead. You can also decrease or omit the black pepper and use a brand of enchilada sauce that you know is mild.

Without further ado, here’s what I came up with.

Caliente Crock Pot Chicken and Vegetable Soup
Serves 6-8

2-3 chicken breast fillets, boneless, skinless, thawed
1 (10-ounce) can diced tomatoes with jalapeƱos (I used the Hatch brand)
1 (10-ounce) can mild enchilada sauce
1 (7-ounce) can diced green chiles
1 (15-ounce) can black beans, drained and rinsed
4 cups chicken stock or broth (I used organic chicken stock from Costco)
2 garlic cloves, minced or pressed
½ cup red onion, chopped
1 cup corn
1 zucchini,  peeled and quartered
1 cup carrots, chopped
1 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Optional Garnishes:
Shredded Lite Mexican Blend Cheese
Crumbled Tortilla Chips or Strips
Sour Cream

Place all ingredients in Crock Pot. Stir well to combine. Cover and cook on low for 6-8 hours or on high for 3-4 hours. Prior to serving, shred chicken with a fork.  Serve as is or with some or all of the optional garnishes listed above.

Ay yay yay!!! Good thing I included the word “caliente” in the title of this recipe. This soup was definitely spicy. As I mentioned earlier, if you don’t like the heat or you want to serve this to the kiddos, DO NOT USE THE TOMATOES WITH JALEPENOS. Get the plain ones. Cut out the black pepper and make sure the enchilada sauce you choose is mild. That should really dial it down a notch.
Personally, I enjoy a dish with a little kick so the heat was fine by me. The hubs wasn’t as enthusiastic about this recipe, but he still gave it a thumbs up and took it to work for lunch the next day so that still counts as an endorsement, right?

You can pick and choose from the list of garnishes above or use them all if you’re feeling adventurous. We went with a little fresh avocado and a sprinkle of Lite Mexican Blend Cheese. In hindsight, I should have added a dollop of sour cream. I think I mentioned in a past post that the fat in the dairy counteracts the capsaicin (heat element) and helps to cool things down.

Regardless, I enjoyed this soup and I hope you do too. It’s packed with protein thanks to the chicken and beans and has plenty of healthy veggies to fill you up, not out. If you are looking for a way to spice up dinner—literally—then this is the soup for you. Enjoy!

Until next time,

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