by Nealey Dozier
Chicken enchilada soup is a thicker, richer cousin of chicken tortilla soup. It's almost as if you are eating an actual enchilada in a bowl and a spoon.
This soup requires little prep work for the amount of flavor it yields. I started with the ingredients of my favorite red enchilada sauce as the base. I tossed the sauce into my slow cooker along with corn, beans and chicken thighs, and then left it overnight for the slow cooker to work all of its magical powers. By morning I had a luscious soup that needed little more than salt and pepper to give it a boost. (Of course, if you feel like gilding the lily, a splash of heavy cream and a handful of cheddar take this recipe over the top!)
When developing this recipe, I really knew it was a keeper when my fiancé asked if we could keep a batch in the refrigerator at all times, so he could eat it every day. In my house, that's the sign of a real winner. This is a dish to return to all fall and winter long.
Slow Cooker Chicken Enchilada Soup Recipe
For the soup:
Neutral cooking oil, such as canola or safflower
1 medium onion, chopped
1 large jalapeno, seeded and finely chopped
3 garlic cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons Mexican-style chili powder
1 tablespoon ground cumin
1 tablespoon sugar
2 ripe tomatoes, roughly chopped
1 (15-ounce) can tomato sauce
2 cups chicken stock, plus more for thinning if needed
1 (15-ounce) can yellow corn, drained
1 (15-ounce) can black beans, drained
2-3 pounds chicken thighs, skins removed (See Recipe Notes)
Heavy cream, to taste (optional)
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
Cayenne pepper, optional
Grated cheddar cheese
Heat a few tablespoons of oil in a large Dutch oven or skillet over medium heat. Add the onions and jalapeno and cook until softened, 5 to 7 minutes. Add the garlic, chili powder, cumin and sugar, and stir until fragrant, 30 seconds to 1 minute. Add the tomatoes, tomato sauce and stock. Season with salt and pepper. Bring to a gentle boil, then transfer to the bowl of a slow cooker.
Add the corn, beans, and chicken thighs to the slow cooker. Cover and set on low for 6 to 7 hours (or high for 4 hours). Shred the cooked chicken using two forks (if using bone-in thighs, remove the chicken to shred; discard bones and return meat to the soup). Stir in a splash of heavy cream if desired. Season the soup with additional salt, pepper, and cayenne pepper, to taste.
Serve with cheddar cheese, sour cream, tortilla chips and cilantro for garnish.
You can use bone-in or boneless, skinless chicken thighs. I used bone-in for a rich, complex soup, but boneless are easy because you don't have to pull them out.
This recipe can easily be doubled and frozen for another time. Transfer the cooled soup to a freezer-safe plastic bag labeled with recipe name and date. Press out excess air before sealing. Lay bags flat in a single layer in the freezer. (Once frozen, the bags can be stacked neatly.) To thaw, transfer to refrigerator overnight or set bag in a stockpot of warm water. Reheat in a saucepan over medium-low heat; season to taste.
Soup Recipe, Mexican Cuisine