It is the crunchy season, aka fall, and that means it’s soup and stew season, too. Woohoo!
I love fall. Like lovvvve fall.
Not such a fan of the soups though. I’m more of a stew and chili kind of girl, if I have to be. But a few years ago, I found a compromise in my Crock Pot and it has become my family’s single most favorite meal of fall and winter.
It’s one of those slow cooker meals that fills the house with intoxicating smells for hours until you’re so hungry you’ll risk third degree burns on your tongue just to get that first taste!
A pound of shredded chicken combines with creamy black beans, sweet corn, crisp yellow onions, warm green chilis, and juicy tomatoes for one heck of a hearty dish. It’s a long list of ingredients, but they all come from cans and a frozen bag. So it’s stupid simple. I buy low-sodium organic varieties, take a couple of minutes to pop the lids and pour. The most laborious part of this is the chicken, and if I don’t have time to cook a few breasts myself I’ll buy a roasted chicken from the deli and shred it.
One ingredient comes from a bottle. Replace broth with your favorite Mexican-style beer. The alcohol cooks out, so no worries there, but it gives this Taco Soup a better flavor I think.
While the vegetarian ingredients provide plenty of robust flavor, we punch it up with cumin, coriander, paprika, and a little ancho chili powder.
It’s almost not fair how easy and how delicious this soup is. Or stew. I think I once heard Rachael Ray refer to this type of dish as “Stoup” – part soup, part stew.
I don’t care how you say it, it translates as soooo spoon lickin’ gooood.
You can cook this for as little as an hour, but if time allows, let it simmer on low for several hours. The spices all marinate together, the chicken gets really tender, and it just has a bigger, bolder flavor when it’s finished.
Serve up a ladle full and then let your family top it anyway you like. A little dollop of sour cream or plain Greek yogurt is a cool complement to the spice. It’s almost required that you make a batch of homemade guacamole to serve on top or on the side. We like to crunch up tortilla chips, too, and add a sprinkle of cheese, squeeze of lime juice, and a little cilantro to top it all off.
Cheers to fall, and I hope this Taco Soup makes itself right at home in your kitchen, and tummies, this season!
Chicken Taco Soup
serves 12; 205 calories
1 can of black beans, drained and rinsed
1 can of Mexican rotel
1 can of petite diced tomatoes low-sodium
1 bag frozen corn
1 can of diced green chilis
1 yellow onion, chopped
1 red bell pepper, chopped
1 lb. cooked and shredded chicken breasts
1 Tbsp. cumin
1 Tbsp. ancho chili powder
1/2 Tbsp. paprika
1 Tbsp. coriander
12 oz. Mexican-style beer
1. After opening the cans, chopping, and doing any other prep work, place all ingredients in a slow cooker or Crock Pot.
2. Add the spices and pour in the beer.
3. Stir until well combined.
4. Cook on medium for 1-6 hours.
5. Serve with any desired toppings like sour cream, plain Greek yogurt, guacamole, cheese, cilantro, tortilla chips, or olives. (Toppings not accounted for in nutrition label.)
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Recipe by Brandi Koskie; Photos by Kacy Meinecke