After a long day at church, you don’t want to get out a chopping board. You want to eat something right away. That’s the thinking behind this simple, cooks-in-the-crockpot-all-day soup.
We’ve eaten this meal so many times, I actually got tired of eating it.
Of course, it didn’t take long before I wasn’t tired of it anymore. And if you try this recipe, you’ll find out why.
Crockpot Chicken Chili
Makes: 6-8 servings
2 chicken breasts 3 cups chicken broth 2 cans white beans (don’t drain) 1 cup frozen corn 1 tbsp olive oil minced garlic (optional) banana peppers (or any diced spicy peppers – optional) squeeze of fresh lemon 1 tbsp salt
(Shredded cheese and tortilla chips to garnish, optional)
• Put all ingredients into a crockpot and stir. • Cook on low heat for 6-7 hours. • Remove the chicken breasts and shred the meat. • Put the chicken back in the crockpot. • Stir and serve. Garnish with cheese and tortilla chips.
First of all, I apologize for using “Mexican” as a descriptor. The only thing remotely “Mexican” about this is the jalapeño. Why didn’t I just say “spicy”? Because it doesn’t actually make the soup spicy. It just gives it a fabulously interesting flavor. Just ask my mom. She couldn’t tell there was an entire jalapeño in it until I told her, and she has low tolerance for spiciness.
The basic recipe is nothing more than something I pulled out of a cook book on the kitchen shelf, on a day I didn’t feel like roaming Pinterest for 20 minutes just to find the Perfect Recipe. Because sometimes when you have a butternut squash, you just want to eat it as soon as physically possible, with whatever recipe you can find first.
The jalapeño went in on a whim. We bought a couple of them recently, inspired by living in a Spanish-speaking country, and I’ve been trying to find ways to use them up before they go bad. Could you make this soup without the hot pepper? Yes. But will it be half as good? No. Just trust me on this. Use the jalapeño.
Mexican Butternut Squash Soup
Makes: 4-5 servings
3 tbsp butter or oil 1 small onion (or 1/2 of a large onion), diced 3 tsp powdered ginger 1 butternut squash, baked in the oven at 350°F for an hour (or until soft), with the seeds scooped out and the skin peeled off 1 fresh jalapeño, de-seeded (the seeds are the spiciest part — if you touch them without gloves on, do not rub your eye unless you want lowkey pepperspray sensations on your face) 4 cups chicken broth or vegetable broth A pinch of salt
Heat butter or oil in a pot, then sauté the onions in it until soft.
Add the ginger and stir, cooking a little more.
Add the butternut squash, jalapeño, and 3 of the cups of broth. Simmer for 20 minutes.
Blend the mixture, either by pouring it into a blender or by using one of those handheld blender things. Make sure to pulverize it really well.
Pour the mixture back into the pot and add the other 1 cup of broth, as well as a pinch of salt.
Stir it all up and heat for a couple more minutes, until you’re ready to eat.
Quick, think of a meal you ate all the time when you were a kid! Was it beef stew?
No? Well, it was for me. And now that I’m old enough to actually operate a kitchen, I got to see how it’s made. It’s surprisingly easy. Just imagine bite-sized pieces of steak soaked in broth with carrots, potatoes, and celery.
I can’t think of anything in the world more ordinary and satisfying.
Mom’s Beef Stew
Makes: 6-8 servings
1 pound beef flank, round or sirloin steak – cut into bite-sized pieces 1 onion, chopped 2 cups celery 1 tbsp garlic powder 6 cups water 3 tbsp instant beef bouillon 1 cup carrots, chopped 1 cup frozen green peas 4 potatoes, peeled and chopped 2 bay leaves 1 tbsp dried oregano leaves 1 tbsp dried chives 2 tbsp ground marjoram 1 tsp salt ½ cup flour ½ cup water
In a large soup pot, bring 1/4 cup of water to boil.
Add the onions, celery, and garlic powder. Sauté until soft.
Add the steak and cook until browned.
Pour in the rest of the water, bouillon, vegetables, and spices, and bring to a boil.
Reduce heat to medium, and cook until the vegetables are soft.
Combine the flour and ½ cup water in a small bowl or cup, making sure to get out any lumps. Stir a little of the stew broth into the flour mixture, then pour the flour mixture into the stew.