I don't consider myself to be a "dog person." I like dogs fine, but I really have no desire to have one of my own. Plus, Caroline is allergic, so having a dog is just not in the cards right now. However, I always had dogs growing up. We had a Doberman for over 10 years, several stray mutts that we took in, and my dad had a Welsh Corgie, Obi (Wan Kenobi).
Obi was a great dog, and my dad's sole companion for several years, before he married my stepmother. It was with great sadness that he passed away a few weeks ago. The loss of a pet is always a hard thing to deal with. Sure, they aren't people, but they are your friend. Your companion. Your playmate. No one feels this way more than my friend Branny, and she is putting her money where her mouth is and giving back. For every soup recipe submitted to her "Souper Bowl," she is donating $1 to the ASPCA. I totally forgot to submit this, but she was kind enough to let me turn it in tardy :-) I am dedicating this entry to Obi, may he rest in peace.
Now as for the soup, this is a quick and easy crock pot recipe. Tex-Mex flavors are always a big hit in our house, and this was no different. It makes a lot of stew, and I had plans to freeze half of it to save for a busy day. But I ended up eating it for lunch all week, and before I knew it, it was gone. It's pretty healthy, full of flavor, and the best part: low maintenance! Just let it cook all day, and then enjoy that night. As far as toppings go, you could pretty much go crazy. Cheese, jalapenos, cilantro, avocado, tomatoes, onions, tortilla chips.... the possibilities are endless. You could serve this over rice too. And it would be great with cornbread. There is nothing better on a cold and rainy day than a big bowl of soup or stew. That is, unless it's cooked and waiting for you when you get home.
Tex-Mex Chicken Stew
barely adapted from Slow Cooker Revolution
serves 6 to 8
Instead of chopping all the vegetables by hand, I roughly chopped them and then threw them in the food processor. It dirtied an extra dish, but I was in a really big hurry when I was prepping this, so it was worth it to me.
If you are sensitive to or really love spice, feel free to adjust the amounts of jalapeno, cayenne, and chipotle chiles listed below. This had a little bit of heat but was not overwhelming to us.
This cooks for 4-6 hours on low, but I honestly think it would be fine if you let it go longer than that.
- 1 large yellow onion, minced
- 1 green bell pepper, seeds and ribs removed, chopped
- 2 jalapeno chiles, seeds and ribs removed, minced
- 6 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 Tbs tomato paste
- 1 Tbs vegetable oil
- 1 Tbs chile powder
- 2 tsp ground cumin
- 1/8 tsp cayenne pepper
- 4 cups low-sodium chicken broth (more if you like a brothier consistency)
- 1 (14.5 oz) can diced tomatoes, drained (use Rotel if you like extra spice)
- 1/4 cup Minute Tapioca
- 1 Tbs brown sugar
- 3 lbs boneless, skinless chicken thighs, trimmed of excess fat
- salt and pepper
- 2 cups frozen corn
- 1 (15-oz) can black beans, drained and rinsed
- 2 minced chipotle chiles in adobo sauce
- 1/4 cup minced fresh cilantro
Stir the broth, tomatoes, tapioca, and sugar into the slow cooker. Season the chicken with salt and pepper and nestle into the slow cooker. Cover and cook until the chicken is tender, 4 to 6 hours on low.
Transfer the chicken to a large cutting board, and when it's cool enough to handle, shred into bite-sized pieces. If any fat has risen to the surface in the slow cooker, skim it off with a large spoon (this was not necessary for me).
Return the chicken the slow cooker, stir in the beans, corn, and chipotle chiles, cover, and cook on high until heated through, about 10 minutes. Stir in the cilantro, season with additional salt and pepper as needed, and serve.