28 February 2012

Soup-er Simple!

Had to post this before I forget the recipe, as I'm terrible about writing down my recipes as I go!

I was given a wonderful 7 quart slow cooker for Christmas and am LOVING using it! I usually end up making a soup or stew in there, and often times it's the basic mirepoix (onion, celery, carrot) with some potatoes and beef or chicken, and lots of seasonings and spices. Those are things I always have, you know that if you've seen my pantry and fridge check lists :) and along with Chili/bean soups, they're the most simple hearty meals I can provide often with very little time to prep, and soup is pretty much always in budget. And who doesn't love soup/stew on a cold Washington evening, with lots of leftovers!

Well, lately I've had a hankering for a mexican soup, something with a little heat, lots of shredded chicken, something I can make unique and really delicious without spending hours in the kitchen. Mexican Chicken Soup with Avocado Lime cream was created! It's similar to a chicken tortilla soup, but without the soggy tortilla strips :) Instead we used our favorite tortilla chips crumbled on top, and getting to crumble his own chips was my son's favorite part! This soup was fast to prep, can be garnished in a number of ways, and is extremely hearty, comforting and flavorful. 

Here's is the wonderfully simple, yet elegant-enough-to-be-served-in-the-good-china, recipe! f you don't want to make a giant batch, though I can't think of any reason not to as leftovers are the easiest meals of all, you can halve the recipe.

Mexican Chicken Soup (in 7qt. Slow Cooker) 
1 large yellow onion, sliced thin
4 cloves fresh garlic, minced
4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1 large can of your favorite Enchilada Sauce (around 28oz)
3 cups low-sodium chicken stock or broth
1 small bag frozen corn
2 cans low-sodium pinto beans (drained)
3 carrots, sliced

Spices: I started with about 2 teaspoons of each and when the slow cooker has about an hour left, taste and add more if needed...
Ground Cumin
Ground Coriander
Smoked Paprika
Dried Mexican Oregano
Worchestire sauce
Sea Salt
White Pepper (Start with 1 tsp of this since it can pack a lot of heat)

Layer in the cooker with half the sliced onion, half the carrot and half the garlic on the bottom, pour in about a third of the chicken stock and half of the enchilada sauce. Put the chicken breasts on top, then add your remaining ingredients, give a little stir and pop the lid on. Cook on low for 8 hours, or high for 4-5. Again, when you have a hour left taste to see if you need to season more. YOu'll also want to take your next step at this point. Take out the chicken breasts and shred them in a large bowl, I find using two forks works best, and then put the chicken back in, lid on and let it cook that last hour. 

Avocado Lime cream
1/2 cup low fat sour cream
1 medium avocado
1 lime's worth of juice
dash of garlic powder and onion powder, salt and pepper to taste
Mash everything together until fairly smooth and serve soup with a dollop of this cream on top. It's a wonderful contrast to have the acid from the lime juice with all the rich flavors from the soup, and adds a lot of freshness. 

You can really customize what you'd like to add at this point. Other ideas are:
Grated cheese or Queso Fresco
Chopped Scallions
Minced Red Onion
Fresh Tomato
Tortilla Chips
JalepeƱo Peppers or other favorite peppers
or whatever mexican flavors you enjoy! 

Share, enjoy, savor, eat, love!

I have another couple of posts in the works and will get them up soon.
Thanks for reading, friends!