Last night, I took some chicken breasts from the freezer and put them in the refrigerator to thaw. I really had no idea what I was going to do with them, but decided I would cross that bridge in the morning. When I took them out this morning, I realized they were already cooked. That threw a wrench in my plan to make parmesan chicken and noodles. Instead, I looked in the fridge and saw a lonely, wilting bunch of cilantro. Clearly, it needed rescuing.
Now I had chicken and cilantro. I went shopping in my pantry and grabbed up cans of corn, diced tomatoes, rotel tomatoes, and beans, plus an onion. Back to the refrigerator for some celery and minced garlic. After a few minutes of chopping, I tossed everything in the slow cooker and set it on low for 5 hours. (If my chicken had been raw, I would have set it on high or cooked it longer.)
In retrospect, I could have sauteed the onion, garlic, and celery in some olive oil for better flavor, but my toss-it-in technique saved a step and the need to wash another pot! I also added a cup of uncooked rice during the last hour. I wouldn't do that again. It soaked up too much liquid and made the soup too thick for our tastes. If I had leftover cooked rice, I might put some in the bottom of each bowl and ladle the hot soup over the top of it.
The soup was great. I added a chunk of avocado to each bowl for creaminess. With tortillas chips and fresh fruit, we had a complete meal with very little fuss.
Slow Cooker Chicken Cilantro Soup
3 chicken breasts (1.5-2#)
1/2 bunch cilantro, thick stems removed
1 medium onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
3 stalks celery
1 can corn
1 can diced tomatoes
1 can Rotel tomatoes with green chiles
1 can beans, rinsed (black, kidney, or pinto)
2 quarts (or more) chicken broth
1 tablespoon cumin
1 teaspoon oregano
1 teaspoon black pepper
Optional: 1 lime or 2 tablespoons lime juice (set aside)
- Toss everything, except the lime, in the slow cooker.
- Cook on low for 5-6 hours.
- Remove chicken, shred it with a fork, and return it to the pot. If desired, add the juice of one lime and cook for 15 more minutes.
- Serve with sour cream, tortilla chips, cheese, and sliced avocado.