Original Recipe credit = Lauren’s Latest
Prep time = 15 min
Cook time = 8 hours
Servings = 5-ish (Christian + I each get 2 sizable bowls and always have one left over)
Categories = chicken, crockpot, slowcooker, healthy, easy dinner
I know what you’re thinking...Lauren, you JUST said last week that you never cook chicken. Well guess what, I’m breaking that truth for the second week in a row to bring you this delicious Chicken Tortilla Soup!
Or maybe I’m not because really, this crockpot version of Lauren’s Latest’s recipe is so easy that you might not even consider it cooking! :) Especially because you don’t have to prep the chicken in any way--using the crockpot means no cutting or cooking raw chicken (if you’re someone that hates that, like me). Just toss chicken breasts in the crockpot, cover ‘em with the rest of the ingredients, and you’re good to go!
This soup has become a staple while working from home. It’s so easy to throw everything together in the morning, and having the smell and warmth fill our small apartment throughout the day is the best (so much better than smelling whatever your coworkers are microwaving in the lunch room, right??) The fresh, Mexican flavors (and your choice of toppings!) really make this a satisfying soup not just for colder months, but really any time of year!
Note too that you can easily increase or reduce certain ingredients to feed more mouths, or to suit your tastes--for example, the original recipe calls for a can of black beans AND a can of kidney beans, but we just stick with the black beans.
FUN FACT = When you hear the word tortilla, what comes to mind? A flat round corn- or flour-based bread used in many Mexican dishes, right? That’s how they’re most commonly consumed in the U.S. and Central America. But in Spain, tortilla is used to refer to a thick, round, egg-based quiche or frittata-looking thing filled with potato slices. It’s usually sliced and served for breakfast or as a tapa. So when the Spanish conquest of the 16th century stumbled upon the indigenous Aztec people in Central America and saw the corn-based flatbreads they ate, the Spaniards referred to the flatbreads as “tortillas”, from the Spanish word meaning “little cake”.
1 lb Chicken breasts, boneless/skinless (thawed, if from frozen)
1 Yellow onion, chopped
1 cup shredded carrots (is there anything more convenient than matchstick carrots?)
1 can corn (whole kernel works well)
1 clove garlic, minced
1 medium zucchini, diced (no need to peel the skin)
1 can (15 oz) black beans, drained
1 can (15 oz) tomato sauce
5 c low-sodium chicken broth
Seasonings (all to taste, amounts are just recommendations!)
Paprika - 1 tbsp
Cumin - 1 tbsp
Oregano - 1 tsp
Salt + Pepper
Optional (but recommended!) toppings
Shredded cheese (Christian likes mozzarella, but I bet cheddar would be great)
Cilantro (I don't like it, but I know many do, especially in Mexican cuisine)
Chop or dice the veggies and toss into a large crockpot (we use a 6-quart).
Place chicken breasts in the crockpot.
Add all other ingredients and seasonings (besides optional toppings).
Cook on Low setting for 8 hours.
Shred the chicken breasts between two forks.
Serve with your preferred toppings!
SEMI-PRO TIPS (since let’s be real, I’m definitely not a “pro”):
If you don’t have a full 8 hours, you can cook on High for 4--the chicken just won’t shred as easily.
Christian and I like our soups a little thicker, so we only add 4-5 cups of chicken broth. But an easy way to make a thinner soup is to add an extra cup or two or broth, or further increase the amount made by throwing in another can of beans (kidney or cannellini should both work)--just make sure to give a few extra shakes of the seasonings then, too.
If you give this a try, let me know your thoughts! And, maybe more importantly...what’s your fav brand of tortilla chips? It’s a pretty big debate amongst my siblings, but Christian and I like El Milagro and Chi-Chi’s the best!