I opted for the latter and pulled out one of my favorite slow cooker cookbooks, Make it Fast, Cook it Slow by Stephanie O'Dea. Salsa Chicken and Black Bean Soup sounded appealing and, since all the ingredients were on hand, I decided to give it a try. Here's the recipe as it appears in the cookbook, but you can also find it here on Stephanie's blog, A Year of Slow Cooking.
SALSA CHICKEN AND BLACK BEAN SOUP
--1 cup dried black beans (or 2 cans, drained and rinsed)
--1 pound boneless, skinless chicken pieces
--4 cups chicken broth
--1 (16 ounce) jar prepared salsa
--1 cup frozen corn
--1 cup sliced mushrooms
--1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
--1/2 cup sour cream (to stir in at the end)
--shredded cheddar cheese, avocado slices, cilantro (optional garnishes)
Use a 4 quart slow cooker. If you're using dry beans, soak them overnight. Drain and rinse the beans, and put into the stoneware. Add chicken, broth, and salsa, then add the corn, mushrooms, and cumin. Cover and cook on low for 8 to 10 hours, or high for 5 to 6 hours. If you'd like to thicken the broth (I did), you can use an immersion blender (I love that thing!) to blend a bit of the beans and chicken. If you don't have one, scoop out 2 cups of the soup and carefully blend in a traditional blender. Stir the mixture back into the soup. Mix in the sour cream before serving, and garnish with shredded cheese, avocado slices, and cilantro if desired.
I used a larger slow cooker.
I love black beans, and added 3 cans instead of 2.
I used fresh, boneless chicken thighs, cut into bite size pieces.
I used Tostitos medium salsa.
Reduced fat sour cream worked fine.
To mix in the sour cream, slowly add a cup or two of hot liquid to the sour cream in a bowl. Then gradually add that mixture back into the crock pot filled with hot soup, stirring constantly. This will help prevent the sour cream from curdling.
We loved this soup! I'll be making it on a regular basis this fall and winter.
While looking around Stephanie's blog, I noticed that she has a new cookbook coming out later this month, 365 Slow Cooker Suppers. It will be her first cookbook to include color photographs and will surely be my next cookbook purchase. I won't even bother to preview and test a library copy.
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