Slow-Cooker Chicken Tortilla Soup
We love a good slow-cooker recipe during an especially busy week, and this is one of our favorites. It’s so easy, I can actually make it by myself. And it’s so delicious that we usually try to make a big enough batch to ensure we have extra to freeze some for another time. (It thaws and re-heats really nicely.) This recipe is pretty much everything we look for in a dinner-time soup. The ingredients are very simple: chicken breasts, crushed tomatoes, enchilada sauce, chopped green chiles, garlic, onion, chicken broth, jalapenos, cumin, chili powder, bay leaf, salt & pepper. When I made this soup, I put all the ingredients together in the slow-cooker that morning. But one of the great things about this recipe is that you can mix together all the ingredients (other than the chicken) the night before and refrigerate the mixture overnight, if you want to save even more time. Just don’t add the chicken until the morning you are going to cook the soup (we’re probably overly cautious when it comes to bacteria and proteins, but better safe than food poisoned! Especially if I’m the one doing the cooking…)
Speaking of me doing the cooking, this was a good reminder that I should always double-check the recipe. In the ingredients photo, you’ll see a 28 ounce can of crushed tomatoes. But the recipe actually calls for a 14.5 ounce can of crushed tomatoes. Oops. If you are cooking something new or don’t cook that often, I highly recommend double-checking your ingredients against the recipe (especially helpful to do before you, for example, open a can of something that is twice as large as what is called for in the recipe. Just sayin’). Add the tomatoes (14.5 ounces worth) to the slow-cooker.
Next add a can of enchilada sauce. We usually use “medium” strength, but you can use “hot” if you like yours a little more spicy.
Then add a can of chopped green chiles.
Prepare the de-seeded and chopped jalapeno, chopped onion and minced garlic, then add them to the slow-cooker.
Next add the spices: cumin, chili powder, bay leaf and salt & pepper.
Then add the chicken broth.
Finally, add the chicken breasts (trimmed of any visible fat. Just as the soup appears to be trimmed of any visible chicken breasts — those suckers sunk right to the bottom before I could get a photo.)
Being mindful of the chicken and potential bacteria, cook the soup on high for about an hour first. (Anyone else obsessively stare at the timer for that first minute to make sure the slow-cooker is on and working? No? Just me?)
After an hour on high (or an hour and a half if you happen to get distracted by morning TV, blog-reading, what-have-you), switch the slow-cooker setting to low and cook the soup for 6-7 hours.
After the soup is done, remove the chicken breasts and cut them up into bite-sized pieces. Season the chicken with a generous pinch of salt & pepper.
Put the chicken back in the slow-cooker and heat the soup on high for another 15 minutes or so.
We usually garnish this soup with fried tortilla strips that we buy at our local grocery store. Sadly, we couldn’t find them and don’t think they sell them anymore. So we tried to substitute with tortilla chips. It was ok, but not the same as the strips, which hold up much better in the soup. Maybe next time we’ll try making our own…
We serve our tortilla soup garnished with diced avocado, cheddar cheese and chopped cilantro. A dollop of sour cream would be good too!
Slow-Cooker Chicken Tortilla Soup
- 14.5 ounce can crushed tomatoes
- 10 ounce can red enchilada sauce
- 8 ounce can chopped green chiles
- 32 ounce container of chicken broth (4 cups)
- 1 onion, chopped
- 1-2 jalapenos, de-seeded and chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 teaspoon cumin
- 1 teaspoon chili powder
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon pepper
- 3 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
- salt & pepper to tasteFor garnish:
- chopped cilantro
- grated cheddar cheese
- cubed avocado
- tortilla strips
- dollop sour cream
Combine soup ingredients in slow-cooker (all ingredients other than chicken can be combined ahead of time and refrigerated), then add chicken breasts and cook on high for 1 hour. Reduce heat setting to low and cook for 6-7 hours. Remove chicken and cut into bite-sized pieces, then season with salt & pepper. Add the chicken back to the slow-cooker and re-heat on high for about 15 minutes. Season with salt & pepper as needed. Garnish as desired with cilantro, avocado, cheese, tortilla strips, and/or sour cream.