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Meaty Monday: Crock Pot Chicken Taco Soup

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We have had an unusually warm winter here in north east Texas, but we did get a light frost last night and I woke up chilled thinking it was a great day for a batch of soup to cook all day in the crock pot.  Don’t let the list of ingredients scare you…it is pretty much just a dump and cook recipe.  My family loves this soup and the leftovers freeze well.

Crock Pot Chicken Taco Soup

1 onion, chopped

1 (16 ounce) can pinto beans, undrained

1 (15 ounce) can black beans, undrained

1 (15 ounce) can whole kernel corn, drained

1 (8 ounce) can tomato sauce

1 (12 fluid ounce) can or bottle beer (I use Lone Star because the rule at our house is we do not sacrifice a Dos Equis for cooking!-The Chickenman drinks Lone Star/I drink Dos Equis)

2 (10 ounce) cans diced tomatoes with green chilies, undrained

1 (1.25 ounce) package taco seasoning***See below to make your own

3 whole skinless, boneless chicken breasts (you can put them in frozen!)

shredded Cheddar cheese (optional)

sour cream (optional)

crushed tortilla chips (optional)

jalapeno (optional)

Directions 1. Place the onion, pinto beans, black beans, corn, tomato sauce, beer, and diced tomatoes in a slow cooker. Add taco seasoning, and stir to blend. Lay chicken breasts on top of the mixture, pressing down slightly until just covered by the other ingredients. Set slow cooker for low heat, cover, and cook for 5 hours.

2. Remove chicken breasts from the soup, and allow to cool long enough to be handled. Stir the shredded chicken back into the soup, and continue cooking for 2 hours. Serve topped with shredded Cheddar cheese, a dollop of sour cream, and crushed tortilla chips, if desired.

***I make my own taco seasoning:  1 tablespoon chili powder  1/4 teaspoon garlic powder  1/4 teaspoon onion powder  1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes  1/4 teaspoon dried oregano  1/2 teaspoon paprika  1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin  1 teaspoon sea salt  1 teaspoon black pepper

The guys are here working on our bathroom remodel and they are complaining about how wonderful it smells!

Have a great Meaty Monday!

Meaty Monday-Reata’s Jalapeno Cilantro Soup with Chicken

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I love trying new recipes.  I especially love trying recipes from some of my favorite restaurants.  But I have to admit I almost always alter the recipe in some way whether for convenience or substitution if I’m short an ingredient or sometimes just because I think it sounds good.

Last week on the Texas Farm Bureau’s Texas Table Top  there was a post by Kelly Bogard featuring a recipe from one of my favorite restaurants, Reata.  Only problem was there wasn’t any meat in the recipe-The Chickenman has to have his meat.  Even though a certain unnamed Meat Judger we know says, “Chicken is not meat.  It is an alternative protein source-like beans”,  I decided to add some chicken, meat, protein-whatever you want to call it!

So to the recipe from the Table Top post I added four grilled boneless skinless chicken breasts that I had seasoned with Texas Tech Raider Red Meats new Steak Seasoning.I just fired up the gas grill and threw them on.  Always be sure when cooking chicken to get it to an internal temperature of 165 degrees for safety-use a meat thermometer.  Here’s a great source for information about chicken from the USDA.

Another note on the recipe is that it calls for heavy cream-The Chickenman called me from the grocery in a tizzy because he couldn’t find anything labeled “heavy cream”.  FYI-heavy cream and heavy whipping cream are essentially the same thing: cream that contains 36 percent or more milk fat. Whipping cream is a bit lighter, with only 30 percent milk fat. I used heavy whipping cream because I like to channel Paula Dean when cooking. 🙂

It turned out great and don’t let the jalapeno turn you off thinking it will be too hot-it is not.  Seeding and removing the flesh from inside the peppers greatly reduces their bite.  Oh be very careful when handling these peppers or they will be burning you hours later-wear gloves if you have some. Also be very careful not to touch your eyes-Yikes!

So here’s the revised recipe:

Reata’s Jalapeno Cilantro Soup with Chicken

1⁄2 tbsp. unsalted butter

5 jalapeño peppers, seeded and minced

2 tbsp. garlic, minced

3⁄4 cup red onion, finely chopped

1 avocado, peeled and diced

4 Roma tomatoes, diced

8 cups heavy cream (use the highest fat content available)

kosher salt (you can use regular)

freshly ground black pepper

1 bunch cilantro, stemmed and chopped (I love cilantro but The Chickenman only tolerates it so I only used about half of the bunch)

4 boneless skinless chicken breasts seasoned with Raider Red Steak Seasoning diced.

Dice the jalapeno, onions and garlic. In a large pot, melt butter and cook the diced vegetables over medium heat until cooked through. Chop the tomatoes and avocado and add them to the pot and stir. Add the diced chicken and stir.  Remove the pot from the heat and slowly add the cream. Stir constantly to avoid scalding. Return the pot to the heat and let it simmer for about 15 minutes. Stir occasionally to reduce the soup down to your desired thickness, and mix in the chopped cilantro just before serving.

We had ours with tortilla chips and mexican cervezas!  YUM!