Monday, November 12, 2012

Simple & Spicy Chicken Soup

I confess: I just love soup. I could have it every single night. Luckily, Jeremy likes it too, so once the weather cools down, he knows we're having soup at least one night a week. Here's a new soup that I think will be playing pretty heavy in the rotation alongside Lasagna Soup and Slow-Cooker Loaded Baked Potato Soup.

I started out with this recipe from Six Sisters' Stuff, changed a few things, and then messed around with the ratio of ingredients. What I learned is this is a great combo of ingredients, and it comes out delicious no matter which way you increase or decrease the ingredients. You want more potatoes and less corn? Go ahead! You want lots and lots of carrots and only a few potatoes? Why not? As long as you add enough broth (or water) to cook the chicken and potatoes and enough spices to give it some zing, you're good to go.

The basic ingredients are:
Chicken breasts
Chicken broth (or half broth/half water OR just water)
A jar of salsa
Chili powder
Cayenne pepper

Here's my favorite way to make it so far:
4 potatoes, cut into slightly smaller than 1-inch squares*
2 cups frozen corn
3 cups carrots, peeled and cut into circles**
1/2 sweet onion, diced
3 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
2 cups chicken broth 
2 cups water
1 jar of salsa
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 1/2 teaspoons cumin
1 teaspoon chili powder
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
(This filled my crockpot up to the very tippy-top and made two dinners and a handful of lunches for two adults)

*The potatoes take the longest to cook, so smaller is better, unless you want everything else very overcooked by the time the potatoes are done (I learned that the hard way). Also, any potato should be fine. I have used baking potatoes and red potatoes so far.
**I cut the carrots a little thicker than I would for a non-crockpot soup because they cook so quickly. I think I cut mine about a half-inch thick (I don't keep a ruler in the kitchen, sorry).

Toss all ingredients in your slow cooker except the chicken and broth and/or water. 

Give your ingredients a little stir. 

Place chicken on top of other ingredients. 

Pour broth and/or water on top, using enough so that the liquid covers most of the solid ingredients in your cooker. You can put liquid all the way to the top of ingredients to make it soupy or keep it a little lower to make it very chunky and without much broth. The version above makes the liquid come right to the top of the solid ingredients. Again, you can easily play around with this and can use this to make a lot of soup or a little, so put in your solids first and then decide how much liquid you want. 

Cover and cook on high for 4-5 hours (mine took about five until the potatoes were done).

Remove cooked chicken, shred, return to cooker, stir, and BAM! Spicy chicken soup! I hope you like it as much as I do!

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