Slow Cooker Chicken Tortilla Soup

February 23, 2016

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I thought Spring had sprung over the weekend! Yup…the mercury shot on up to 61°F! Balmy I tell you. But alas, I understand that it was just a tease and the cold/wet Wintry weather is headed back in our direction. Good thing I have this spicy, oh so flavorful Chicken Tortilla Soup on hand to warm me up. The zesty broth is simply chock full of tender chicken as well as a  savory veggie and black bean blend. It imparts all those “feel good” vibes that the old classic Chicken Noodle Soup does, yet it does it with a kick! And this soup is not only delicious, but it is also really easy to make. I’m telling you, all you do is put all of the ingredients into your slow cooker, turn it on and then just walk away. No fuss, no worries. And when you return (7 hours later for my part, though you can cook this soup on the high setting and it will be done in 3 -4 hours) you just shred the chicken breasts and stir the meat back into the soup. At that point, while that shredded meat is settling in, you just do a little prep to get all of your toppings ready to go. And I must say, do not skimp on your toppings. I mean this soup is indeed tasty served “au naturale” but I can assure you, there is no way that I will pass up an opportunity to add gooey cheese, chunks of avocado, sour cream and fresh cilantro to pretty much any meal! Yeah, toppings are not really “optional” for me, but to each his own.

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As for the tortillas, the Husband and I just came across Tostitos Rolls, which are the Tostitos tortilla chips, rolled into little cylinders. Crumble them over the top or simply enjoy them as a side, they are fantastic with this soup! So if Winter has got you down and you’re a bit short on time (and/ or kitchen motivation), make up a big batch of this Slow Cooker Chicken Tortilla Soup. Folks will be glad you did!

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Slow Cooker Chicken Tortilla Soup

  • Servings: 6 -8
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

Recipe slightly adapted from: Gimme Some Oven

Ingredients:

  • 2 boneless skinless chicken breasts (about 1 pound)
  • 4 cups good-quality chicken stock
  • 2 (14-ounce) cans black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 2 (10-ounce) cans Rotel Diced tomatoes, with juice (we used the Hot variety diced with Habanero)
  • 1 (15-ounce) can whole-kernel corn, drained
  • 1 (4-ounce) can diced green chiles
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 2 teaspoons chili powder
  • 1-2 dried arbol chilis
  • 1 white onion, peeled and diced
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon salt, or more/less to taste
  • fresh lime wedges
  • optional toppings: chopped fresh cilantro, diced avocado, fresh chives, diced red onion, shredded cheese, sour cream, tortilla strips/chips/rolls

Directions:

Add all of the above listed ingredients to a slow cooker, and stir to combine. Cook for 3-4 hours on high heat or 6-8 hours on low heat, until the chicken is cooked through and shreds easily. Remove chicken breasts from soup. Use two forks to shred the chicken and then add back to the soup. Remove the chilis, and discard.

Serve warm with a squeeze of fresh lime juice, and topped with optional toppings if desired (Don’t be silly….of course you want the toppings!).

You can refrigerate this soup in a sealed container for up to 4 days. Or freeze it for up to 3 months.

Enjoy!

Slow Cooker Chicken Tortilla Soup brought to you by: Runcible Eats (www.leaandjay.com)

Links to Useful Kitchen Tools & Ingredients for Slow Cooker Chicken Tortilla Soup:

Crock-Pot Slow Cooker

Kuhn Rikon Avocado Knife

Rotel Diced Tomatoes – This link is for 4 cans, enough for two batches of this soup

Chile de Arbol

Tostitos Rolls – We thought these rolled tortilla chips were great with this soup!

 


Slow Cooker Split Pea Soup with Ham

December 12, 2014

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It may not technically be winter yet, but I think old man Winter is definitely stirring. It has not only been hovering around freezing here, but is has also been wet and windy as well. Yup, you get chilled to the bone the second you peek your head out of the door. This kind of weather just begs that you to have a big old pot of soup simmering away on the stove…say like this Split Pea with Ham Soup. Thick, rich and hearty, it is comfort food at it’s finest.

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I was inspired to make up a batch of this soup when I found myself with a ham bone after the Thanksgiving festivities. I don’t know about most of you folks, but we can’t manage to have Thanksgiving with just turkey. Nope…there has got to be ham as well. (and oysters since I grew up on an island…). I used to just toss that ham bone out without a second thought. But now I know that was really a mistake. The ham bone gives this soup such an amazing flavour and to be honest contributed quite a bit of meat. I thought we had pretty much picked it clean, but after it spend many hours simmering away, meat was just falling off of that bone. Which brings me to the other fantastic thing about this soup. It is incredibly easy to prepare. I just put all of the ingredients in the crock pot in the morning and eight hours later, after a wee bit of immersion blending, dinner was served!

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No fuss, no muss, and a big payoff. The husband says it is the best Split Pea Soup he has ever tasted. So there you have it. Christmas is right around the corner. If you find yourself with a ham bone left over, you’ll know just what to do!

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Slow Cooker Split Pea Soup with Ham

  • Servings: 4 - 6
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

recipe slightly adapted from: Garnish With Lemon

Ingredients:

  • 1 (16-ounce) package dried split peas, rinsed
  • 5 carrots, peeled and sliced
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 3 stalks celery, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1/2 Tablespoon fresh thyme leaves
  • 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • ½ tablespoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper
  • 6 cups chicken broth
  • 1 leftover ham bone (or 3 ham hocks – 1 1/2 lbs. Store bought ham hocks don’t have a lot of meat left on them, though they provide a lot of flavour. If you want a meaty soup you might need to supplement it with a little extra ham.)

Directions:

Place all of the ingredients in the slow cooker; gently stir. Cover and cook on low for 8 hours. Or if you are short on time, cook on high for 4 hours.

Remove the bay leaf from the soup and discard. Remove ham bone from soup and pull remaining meat from the bone. It should fall off quite easily. Set meat aside.

At this point, you can either remove a few cups of the soup, puree in the blender and return to the slow cooker or use your immersion blender for 10 seconds to puree the soup slightly. Stir the reserved ham back into the soup and serve warm.

Enjoy!

Slow Cooker Split Pea Soup with Ham brought to you by: Runcible Eats (www.leaandjay.com)

 

 

 


Slow-Cooker Black Bean Ragout

September 5, 2014

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You know how I just told you all about those wonderful Rustic Ciabatta Loaves I baked the other day? That bread was deee-lish all on its own. And toasted with a big old dollop of butter melted over the top? Pure bliss I tell you. And guess what guys…today I have another unbelievably tasty topping for you to pile onto a thick toasted hunk of that Ciabatta. Slow-Cooker Black Bean Ragout. Oh my goodness. Just think about that title….Slow Cooker -Great because it sounds super easy and Black Bean Ragout – well you just know its going to be a spicy, zesty Meatless Monday masterpiece!

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I found this gem of a recipe in the Smitten Kitchen Cookbook. And as with every single recipe I have made from that veritable treasure trove, it was truly fantastic. And even better, sooooo easy. You just throw all of the ingredients into your slow cooker and walk away. About 6 -8 hours later you come back, fiddle around a bit with thickening up the beans if you wish, putting the final touches on the spices and preparing a couple of lovely accompaniments, the cumin crema – who would’ve ever thought sour cream could be so much better by simply adding a bit of cumin – and those addictive lime-pickled red onions – the husband is curious why lime-pickled red onions are not served along with every meal, and you’re golden.

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This recipe makes up about 6 cups of Black Bean Ragout, which was enough for several meals for us. Luckily it was very versatile, so we never grew tired of it. We ate it over toasted Rustic Ciabatta bread, we ate it over rice, and I made a couple southwestern style omelets with it for brunch one day. I think it would be a great black bean side dish served along with any Tex Mex favourite. Refreshing and light in the summer, but also easily a hearty, stick to your ribs cold weather comfort dish. All that and very little time and effort on your part. We’ve hit the Black Bean jackpot with this one. You simply must make a big pot of this today!

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Slow-Cooker Black Bean Ragout

  • Servings: 6 cups of ragout
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

recipe from: Deb Perlman’s Smitten Kitchen Cookbook

Ingredients:

For the Bean Ragout:

  • 1 large onion, finely chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 Tablespoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 2 teaspoons smoked paprika
  • 1 pound (455 grams or 2 1/4 cups) dried black beans, rinsed if not already soaked
  • 4 ounces chopped green chilis
  • 2 Tablespoons (35 grams) tomato paste
  • 2 teaspoons table salt
  • 9 cups water or unsalted vegetable or chicken stock
  • 1 tablespoon lime juice

For the Garlicky Toast:

  • 1 inch thick slice of bread (such as the ciabatta recipe I just gave you!)
  • olive oil
  • table salt
  • 1 large garlic clove, halved

For the Cumin Crema

  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 cup (240 grams) sour cream, crème fraîche, or crema mexicana

For the Lime-Pickled Red Onions

  • 2 Tablespoons (30 ml) freshly squeezed lime juice
  • 1/4 medium red onion, finely diced
  • table salt

For serving:

  • Cilantro leaves, fresh avocado wedges, cotija cheese crumbles, fresh cherry tomatoes

Directions:

Put all of the bean ragout ingredients except lime juice in a 6 quart slow-cooker (the slow-cooker doesn’t care how you layer your ingredients). Cover and cook at high setting until beans are very tender, about 3 -6  hours.

Or if you don’t have a slow-cooker, you can do this on stove top. Just place all of the bean ragout ingredients except lime juice in a large pot or dutch oven and bring to a boil. Reduce to a very low simmer and cook for approximately 3 hours until the beans are tender.

To make the toasts: Brush the bread with olive oil and sprinkle lightly with salt. Toast the bread under the broiler and as soon as you take it out of the oven, rub it with the raw garlic clove.

To Make the Crema: Stir together 1 teaspoon of ground cumin with sour cream and set aside.

To Make the Pickled Red Onions: Mix the lime juice, onion and a pinch or two of salt in a small dish or mason jar. Let stand for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Use to garnish black-bean ragout.

Once the beans are cooked, stir in the lime juice. Adjust seasonings to taste. If the ragout is thinner than you would like, transfer 1 – 2 cups of the cooked beans to a blender and pulse to puree. Return the puree to the ragout and stir to combine. Ladle black beans over the garlicky toasts and sprinkle with chopped cilantro, cumin crema, lime pickled onions and fresh cherry tomatoes. Serve with avocado wedges.

Enjoy!

Black Bean Ragout brought to you by: Runcible Eats (http://www.leaandjay.com )


North Carolina Style Pulled Pork Sliders

June 24, 2014

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Oh yes! Summer is here and folks are thinking about cookouts, picnics and all manner of backyard barbecues! Believe me, I am a big fan of simple hot dogs and burgers on the grill. But what really gets me droolin is the thought of a pulled pork sandwich. Now as much as I’d like to tell ya’ll that I was out in the backyard cookin a whole pig; alas that was not the case. The secret here is that the melt in your mouth, delicious pulled pork found in these little sliders that you see here was cooked right in my wee kitchen in a slow cooker and required very little attention from me. There was no slaving over a pit. How great does that sound?

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Now you might be wondering why these pulled pork sliders are “North Carolina Style”. It is all about the sauce. And there are big differences in barbecue sauces in the US depending on what region you find yourself in. I’m no expert on Barbecue sauces, but I will try my best to explain the differences as I understand them. Kansas City style sauce is the one that most folks think of when they think of barbecue sauce. I’m sure you know it well, a sweet yet slightly tart thick tomato based red sauce with a bit of smoky flavour about it. Memphis Barbecue sauce is very similar to the Kansas City style but has a bit more vinegar added in along with some molasses as a sweetener. If you are in Texas the sauce will be thinner and spicy, with the meat drippings added in along with seasonings such as cumin, chili, onion, bell pepper and just a bit of tomato. In Alabama you are likely to encounter a strange white barbecue sauce. Yup…white barbecue sauce! No tomatoes there, just a mixture of mayonnaise, vinegar and pepper. In South Carolina the folks love yellow mustard base sauces sweetened with molasses or honey. Again no tomato. And finally we get to North Carolina.  North Carolina sauce is my favourite sauce. And truth be told, it varies within the state depending on how far east or west you travel. The Eastern North Carolina Sauce is a thin, nearly transparent, vinegar base sauce with lots of chili pepper flakes floating about in it.Very little to no sugar is added. It isn’t anywhere near thick enough to sit on top the meat, but rather thoroughly penetrates it. As you travel a bit farther west, you will find that the Carolinians there add just a bit of ketchup to the sauce, making it a bit sweeter and a little thicker. These particular sliders here seem to hail from a more westerly spot in the State.

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You might wonder why there are two sauces called for in this recipe. The first sauce is to give that pork some lovely flavour while it is cooking. However, as I’m sure you know, pork can release a lot of grease when cooking. Rather than try to skim off and separate the fat, it is best to just get rid of that first sauce. Once the pork is nearly done, shred it and then return it to the slow cooker with the second nice fresh sauce to finish cooking. As far as the coleslaw goes, I just can’t imagine eating a pulled pork sandwich without it, especially if it is a tangy, spicy Carolina pulled pork. The sweetness of the coleslaw really complements the tart flavour of the pork and adds a nice crunchy texture. However, I’m told some folks think slaw on pulled pork is heresy. Hmmm…to slaw or not to slaw…that is the question.

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The answer? To each his own I suppose. I say serve that coleslaw on the side so folks can indulge or abstain as they wish. Bottom line is you’ve just got to make up a batch of these North Carolina Style Pulled Pork Sliders for your next gathering. (The 4th of July will be here before we know it..) Trust me…folks will go hog-wild!

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North Carolina Style Pulled Pork Sliders

  • Servings: 6-8
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

 

Source: slightly adapted from Creme de la Crumb

Ingredients:

  • ½ red onion, sliced
  • ½ white onion, sliced
  • 4-6 pound boston butt, or pork loin roast (boneless)
first sauce
  • ½ cup apple cider vinegar
  • ¾ cup ketchup
  • ⅓ cup brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper
second sauce
  • ½ cup apple cider vinegar
  • ½ cup ketchup
  • 2 tablespoons barbecue sauce (make sure you use a Carolina Style sauce)
  • 1/2 tablespoon honey
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/2 – 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes (depends on how spicy you like it!)

to serve

  • cole slaw
  • slider or full size buns

Directions:

Place onion slices in the bottom of your slow cooker. Place pork roast on top of onions. Whisk together ingredients for first sauce. Pour first sauce over roast. Cover and cook on low 8 hours or on high 4 hours.
Whisk together all ingredients for second sauce. 30 minutes before serving, remove pork from slow cooker and shred with two forks. Drain juices and onions from slow cooker. Return shredded pork to slow cooker. Pour second sauce over pork and stir to combine. Cover and cook 30 minutes longer.
To serve place pulled pork on bun and top with slaw.
Enjoy!

 

 


Spicy Ham & Black Bean Soup

January 17, 2013

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I’m so excited! I was actually able to use the ham bone that was left over from our Christmas ham this past year. I always have great intentions of using the ham bone, but always seem to be busy with post-holiday stuff at the time it makes itself available to me. So, I wrap it up ever so carefully and put it in the freezer, confident I will make some sort of delicious soup or stew. Well, of course, I sort of forget it is in there until we have an extended power outage and I’m sitting on the floor performing triage on all of my rapidly melting frozen goodies. (Falls Church seems to lose power all of the time! I grew up way out in the country, on a little island and I used to think we lost power there a lot. HAH! Falls Church definitely takes the cake in that department!) At that moment, the old Christmas ham bone does not warrant a place in the Coleman cooler. So it is either flung into the trash or it is given to a very lucky fox who goes running about the neighborhood with it like he won the lottery. This year, my refrigerator outsmarted me and promptly died a couple of days past Christmas. Quite considerate when you think it could have just given up the ghost right before our big Holiday meal. So there was no freezing of the ham bone, oh no. I had to act right away! Luckily I had just received a slow cooker. I took a quick peek online and found a great recipe, which I did adapt a bit. I just popped all of the ingredients into the slow cooker in the morning and didn’t think about it again until it was dinner time. Well, that’s not really true. Since it was my maiden voyage with a slow cooker I was looking at it constantly, but next time I’m sure I will pay it no mind and just let it do its thing. I’m happy to report that the soup was a huge success. We’ve eaten it simply ladled into bowls as well as over rice,  though always sprinkled with gooey melted cheddar cheese and fresh cilantro with a hunk of cornbread, slathered in butter on the side. Delicious!  Nice and spicy. It will really warm you up on a damp and rainy day. I’m very pleased with it and I’m not really that much of a “bean person”. My husband LOVES beans. All of them. Even those lima beans, which he calls “butter beans”, which I call “chalk beans”. Boo! You won’t catch me making any kind of lima bean concoction any time soon. But these black beans are winners. And let me tell you, my husband is in bean heaven! Tonight, for this recipe’s next incarnation, I’m thinking I’m going to mix some rice in with it to thicken it up a bit, roll it up in some tortillas and serve them smothered with cheese, guacamole, salsa and a bit of chopped lettuce and tomatoes. (This recipe does make a whole heck of a lot of soup, so if it’s just two of you, you might need to get a bit creative with how you present it…) All in all a big win! Yay ham bone & yay slow cooker!

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Spicy Ham & Black Bean Soup

recipe adapted from: andreasrecipes.com

yield: approximately 10-12 servings (a whole mess of soup!)

Ingredients:

  • 16 ounces dry black beans
  • 2 quarts water
  • bone from a large ham
  • 1 red bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 jalapeño pepper, minced
  • 1 red onion, finely chopped
  • 15 ounce can of diced tomatoes
  • 1 Tablespoon Chili powder
  • 6 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 2 teaspoons cumin
  • 2 teaspoons oregano
  • 2 teaspoons ground Chipotle pepper
  • water, enough to cover all of the ingredients
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon fresh ground pepper
  • 1/2 cup cilantro, chopped
  • cheese and more cilantro to garnish

Instructions:

The night before you make the soup, pick through the beans and remove any bad beans or other debris. Put the beans into the pot and add 2 quarts water. Remove the beans that float. Soak beans overnight.

Place the ham bone in the bottom of a 6 quart slow cooker pot. Add the drained soaked beans, the peppers onion, tomatoes (with liquid) chili powder, garlic and spices. Add enough water to the pot to cover everything. Put the lid on the slow cooker and cook on high for 6-7 hours, until the beans are tender.

About 1 hour before serving, add the salt, pepper and chopped cilantro. Stir to incorporate. Place the lid back.

Just prior to serving, remove the ham bone. If any meat is still clinging to it, remove it and add it back to the soup. Ladle it into bowls or serve over rice, garnished with cheddar cheese and additional fresh cilantro.

Enjoy!


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