Eating *Almost* Local: Slow Cooker Tortilla Soup

20130118-095440.jpg This is definitely soup weather! Snow on the ground & lots of dreary winter days. My freezer and canning cabinet are stocked with veg, herbs & spices from summer. Though this isn't a wholly "local" meal I consider it organic & sustainable, thanks to goodies found at Trader Joe's & Roots.

Ingredients: - 2 cups of frozen corn - 32 oz of crushed tomatoes - 2 dried chili peppers, I used cayenne & fish peppers - 8 cups of chicken stock - 2 red bell peppers, diced - 1 jalapeño, diced - 1 red onion, diced - 3 garlic cloves, diced - 10 baby carrots, sliced - 1 bunch of cilantro, washed & dried. Both stems & leaves chopped - 2 boneless chicken breasts, seared - 2 cans of black beans, drained & rinsed - spices: ground cumin, ground coriander, pinch of saffron & smoked paprika - salt & pepper to taste - garnish: cilantro leaves, sharp cheddar, tortilla chips, fresh limes & diced avocado


Method: - I used a slow cooker w/ stovetop insert, if you're slow cooker insert is not "stovetop ok", then use a dutch oven or sauté pan to get your chicken & veg seared-off. - sear the chicken in olive oil. when both sides are browned, let them rest on a plate - sauté all of the chopped veg & corn, less cilantro leaves, tomato & avocado until just translucent - add in 1 tbsp of each seasoning, cook for a min & add tomatoes & saffron - move he insert to your slow cooker & add in chicken (whole), beans & stock - cook on high for an hour and check the doneness of the chicken & veg. If done, shred the chicken, salt to taste & keep warm until dinner time. - serve in a big bowl with your fav extras. Sometimes I'll add strips of corn tortilla to thicken, but this time I forgot so chips were the backup. And I ate a gluttons share of them too!


Sadly, I forgot to take a picture of my bowl of soup...I'm a tortilla soup fanatic and will remember to take a pic next time. This soup keeps in the fridge or a few days and tastes even better after a night in the fridge.


What kind of soup are you cooking up? Are sides a must when you make soup?