This chicken tortilla soup recipe for the slow cooker is filled with tender bites of shredded chicken, yellow corn, and zesty enchilada sauce. Plus, you can top each bowlful with a delightful selection of garnishes: tortilla strips, sour cream, diced red onion, cilantro leaves, and fresh lime wedges. It's a combination of the flavors you love in a beautiful soup!
Cilantro, sometimes called Chinese parsley, may resemble parsley, but these two herbs taste nothing alike. In fact, cilantro comes from a plant which gives us both an herb and a spice. Its young green leaves are the herb we call cilantro. And the green seeds produced in its second stage of life are the spice we call coriander.
Be sure to choose bright, fresh-looking cilantro, and use within a few days. If kept refrigerated, the leaves will stay fresh for four or five days. For best results, first wrap the sprigs of cilantro in a damp paper towel and store in an unsealed plastic bag.
5 tablespoons olive oil, divided
2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs
1 cup chopped red onion + more for garnish
1 jalapeño, seeded and chopped
1/2 teaspoon granulated garlic
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
1 cup frozen yellow corn
2 cans gluten-free red enchilada sauce (10 ounces each)
4 cups chicken stock
6-8 corn tortillas, cut into strips, divided
2 fresh limes, for juice and garnish
Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
Sour cream for garnish
Fresh cilantro leaves, rinsed and snipped for garnish
1. Brown: In a skillet, heat 2 tablespoons olive oil over medium-high heat. When oil shimmers add the chicken thighs. Brown the chicken - about 6 minutes each side. Add to slow cooker.
2. Sauté: In the same skillet over medium heat, sauté onions and chopped jalapeño until tender - about 3-4 minutes. (Protect your skin from the pepper juices by placing a sandwich bag over the hand holding the pepper.)
3. Deglaze: Deglaze pan by adding 1 cup chicken stock to still warm skillet. Using a wooden spoon, scrape tasty browned bits loose from bottom of skillet. Add mixture to slow cooker.
4. Add: Add garlic, cumin, oregano, paprika, corn, enchilada sauce, and the remaining 3 cups of chicken stock.
5. Add: Cut 3 of the corn tortillas into wide strips and add to the slow cooker. They will thicken the soup and add yummy flavor.
6. Cook: With the lid on, set slow cooker on LOW and cook for 6-8 hours. If using the HIGH setting, cook for 3-4 hours.
7. To make baked tortilla strips for garnish:
Preheat oven to 400° F. Brush corn tortillas with oil on both sides then cut into strips. Place on baking sheet and sprinkle lightly with salt.
Bake until crisp, about 11 minutes.
8. Shred: When the chicken is tender and easy to break apart, lift out with tongs or a meat fork and place on a plate. Using two forks, one to hold the piece in place and the other to pull the meat apart, shred the chicken into bite-size pieces. Add them back into the soup.
9. Stir in: Stir in juice from 1/2 of a lime. Season with salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste.
10. Garnish: Ladle soup into bowls and garnish with your choice of baked tortilla strips (or with tortilla chips, if you're in a hurry), sour cream, diced red onion, cilantro leaves, and lime wedges.
"Time to Celebrate Cilantro | Life Extension Magazine." LifeExtension.com. Accessed March 7, 2018. http://www.lifeextension.com/magazine/2012/2/Time-Celebrate-Cilantro/Page-01.
Tucker, Arthur O., Thomas DeBaggio, and Francesco DeBaggio. The Encyclopedia of Herbs: A Comprehensive Reference to Herbs of Flavor and Fragrance. Portland, Or: Timber Press, 2010.