Today we’ll be doing more slow cooking! This soup is filling, hearty, warm and super flexible with your favorite toppings. Try it with cilantro, lime, shredded cheese, sour cream, avocado, tomatoes or hot sauce. The great thing about this one is despite looking creamy, no cream or dairy is used. Instead we used a little trick of thickening the soup with an extra can of mashed beans!
So here we have tender pulled chicken simmering on a bed of celery, onions and green chilies and seasoned with oregano and cumin. Toss in some navy or cannellini beans and call it a wholesome meal. You can opt to shred the chicken once it’s cooked long and slow or chop it up into bite-sized pieces. It all depends how spread out you want your chicken to be. I went a little crazy with the shredding, kinda wished I didn’t. Just keep in mind you can also shred it into big chunks. And lastly, feel free to add some heat with red pepper flakes or some cayenne.
We begin by mixing up all of the ingredients except for the second can of beans into the slow cooker. You’ll want to add the second can of beans in last so they don’t turn into mush during the slow cooking and retain their shape. The first can of beans will be mashed or pureed and mixed in with the broth while the other can will be on standby till everything is cooked.
I mashed half a can of beans with a fork and pureed the other half with a food processor to see which turned out better. I’ll have to say pureeing it made it blend more easily with the broth and there were less leftover bits like split skins. So if you have a food processor, it’s worth a step to use it. Otherwise, you can still make do with a simple bowl and fork. Just do a thorough job with the mashing!
You can use chicken breasts or chicken thighs, just make sure it’s skinless for the slow cooker. Chicken skin tends to render fat in the slow cooker and it’s not pretty. It’ll end up diluting your wonderful soup big time. Also 4 chicken breasts/thighs will give you a lot of meat. If you want a more balanced liquid to chicken ratio, try it with 3 pieces instead.
Lastly, feel free to add in other stuff you might like. Corn will work well as will poblanos or jalapenos. The green chilies I used here were from the El Paso brand in the ethnic aisle where you find taco shells and stuff, but they really did not add any heat at all. So if you want, toss in some jalapenos/poblanos/cayenne/chili powder or chili flakes to up the heat.
Then we start slow cooking! Cook it on high for 4 hours or low for 6. You can cook it up to 8 hours on low but the chicken will fall apart more during the shredding stage instead of staying in pieces. Just don’t go any longer than that! Chicken can overcook and get tough.
Once it’s cooked, do a taste check and season with salt and pepper to taste. Add in the other can of beans and stir gently to mix! And you’re ready to serve. Pair a hot bowl of this with cilantro, lime, shredded cheese, sour cream, avocados, tomatoes or hot sauce. Or go bread dipping!
- 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts/thighs
- ½ yellow onion, diced
- 1 teaspoon garlic, minced
- 2 stalks celery, diced
- 2 cans (4 oz.) green chilies, chopped
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- 2 teaspoons ground cumin
- Red pepper flakes/cayenne powder/chili powder to taste (optional)
- 1 bay leaf
- 4 cups chicken broth
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 2 cans (16 oz.) navy/cannellini beans, drained
- Combine the chicken, onions, garlic, celery, green chilies, oregano, cumin and bay leaf in a 6-quart slow cooker. Stir to mix
- Puree/mash 1 can of beans and mix it with the chicken broth. Pour in chicken broth mixture with the chicken
- Cook on high for 4 hours or low for 6 hours
- Remove chicken and shred into bite-sized pieces with two forks. Add pulled chicken back into the soup and remove bay leaf
- Season soup with salt and pepper to taste
- Add the other can of beans and stir gently to mix
- Dish and serve hot with optional toppings of chopped cilantro, lime wedges, shredded cheese, sour cream, avocado, diced tomatoes or hot sauce