Is It Soup, or Is It Chili? Whatever. Flavor It Your Way.

If there were an award for the most magical kitchen appliance, the slow-cooker would certainly be in running for first place. For this intensely flavorful Slow-Cooker Chicken Taco Soup, all you have to do is combine the main ingredients, turn it on, and voila! Taco soup. You can call this soup or you can call it chili, but either way it is wonderful! This recipe is also very adaptable to your personal taste so if an ingredient or two isn’t to your liking, adjust it, or simply omit it.

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Mid- to late-summer reigns supreme for fresh corn here in the Delaware Valley, so I was not about to use frozen. Plan on three to four ears, depending on the size of the cobs, to wield three or more cups worth. After husking, simply use a chef’s knife to slice off the kernels. I found that doing so over a rimmed half baking sheet prevents your prep area from turning into a war zone.

Tongs will give extra stability when you pull the hot chicken out of the soup. Once they’re on the cutting board, switch to two forks to shred into bite-sized pieces. Better yet, if you have meat claws, it’ll make quick work of the shredding process. And don’t sweat it if you don’t have black beans on hand, pintos would work well too.

In making this, I found out too late that I only had 1 tablespoon of the required chili powder. Since it was cold and rainy out I didn’t feel like schlepping back to the supermarket so I Googled a substitute. While there is more to the makeup of chili powder, you can get by with equal parts (1 teaspoon each) of cumin, cayenne pepper and paprika to equal 1 tablespoon of the spice.

When you’re ready to serve, top each bowl with a good quality aged cheddar cheese, it adds an unbelievable creaminess and blankets the dish with a soft subtly to the otherwise bold flavors. Finish off with additional toppings of sour cream (or in our case, crème fraîche), cilantro, and thinly sliced jalapeños.

While sour cream and crème fraîche are both used to add richness and tangy flavor, are they really just the same thing? Sour cream has a fat content of about 20% and may include ingredients like gelatin, rennin, and vegetable enzymes to stabilize it and make it thicker. Crème fraîche has a fat content of about 30% and does not contain any added thickeners, plus it is thicker, has a richer flavor, and is less tangy than sour cream.

If using in a salad or as a topping, they’re pretty much interchangeable and the choice is yours — some people like the tanginess of sour cream, while others like the richness of crème fraîche. So it’s totally up to you—or what happens to be in your fridge.

Russ adored this soup, and we were both glad there was plenty of leftovers for upcoming lunches…

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Ingredients

  • 6 cups chicken broth, preferably homemade
  • 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (about 2 lb.)
  • 2 15-oz. cans black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 15-oz. can diced fire-roasted tomatoes
  • 10 ounces frozen corn, or 3-4 ears of fresh corn
  • 1 red bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 yellow onion, chopped
  • 1 jalapeño, seeded and finely chopped, plus more sliced for serving
  • 2 tablespoons ground cumin
  • 2 tablespoons chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper
  • 3 tablespoons fresh lime juice (from 2 limes)
  • Shredded cheese, sour cream, and hot sauce, for serving
  • Cilantro, optional as a topper

Directions

  1. Combine broth, chicken, beans, tomatoes, corn, bell pepper, onion, chopped jalapeño, cumin, chili powder, salt, and pepper in a 4- to 6-quart slow cooker.
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  2. Cover and cook on low until chicken is very tender, 6 to 8 hours. Remove chicken and, using 2 forks, shred into bite-size pieces.
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  3. Stir chicken and lime juice into soup and serve topped with cheese, sour cream, hot sauce, and sliced jalapeño.
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Adapted from a recipe by Paige Grandjean from Real Simple

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