Healthy slow cooker chicken and green chile soup

Given that we've been living without a functioning kitchen for nearly a month, this slow cooker recipe is way overdue. As much as I love takeout and delivery, the novelty has more than worn off. For those times when cooking isn't feasible, but home cooked flavors are what you're craving, a slow cooker is unbeatable.

Like the rest of the world, I've been resolving to eat a little better, as well as get back on track with bringing my lunch to work each day. Enter: soup, on repeat. It's my favorite make-ahead meal because it's even better the next day. 

This is a really healthy recipe with great zip from citrus and chiles. I love to treat it like a blank canvas of sorts, ready to be layered with toppings for added depth. It's all about the toppings! My favorite way to eat it is with sour cream stirred in for some tang and creaminess, without weighing it down. If you feel like mixing up the base recipe, go for it. I adapted mine from a thicker chili version with corn, but I could also see adding fresh bell peppers and carrots, or opting for a cream-based broth in place of stock. See? That's why I love soup. The world is your oyster.

Slow cooker chicken and green chile soup

Adapted from The Kitchn
Yields about 8 servings
2 lbs boneless, skinless chicken thighs and breasts (I like half and half)
1 spanish onion, diced
4 celery hearts (or 3 full stalks), diced
6 cloves garlic, minced
2 4-oz cans diced fire-roasted green chile peppers
2 T or so canned diced jalapeño peppers (for a medium heat - adjust for more or less heat)
2 tsp cumin
½ tsp dried oregano
1 dried bay leaf
2 tsp sea salt
Lots of black pepper
4 cups chicken stock
2 13.5-oz cans cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
Fresh cilantro, sour cream, lime wedges, or avocado for serving, if you'd like

Arrange chicken pieces in the bottom of a slow cooker. Sprinkle in onion, celery, garlic, peppers, and spices/herbs, including salt and pepper. Stir around to evenly distribute the spices and nestle everything among the chicken. Pour the stock over top. Cover slow cooker with lid, and cook for 4 hours on high (you could also do 6 hours on low). A half hour before it's finished, remove the lid (be careful - it's hot) and stir in the beans. At this point you can also taste for seasoning, adding more salt or more spices if you wish. Re-cover and finish cooking for another half hour. When it's finished, remove the bay leaf, and then use two forks to pull the chicken apart. I like to keep pieces bigger and less shredded, but if you prefer more thinly shredded pieces, you can do so. Serve right away, or store in fridge and reheat to serve.  Serve with fresh cilantro, sour cream stirred in (my favorite part!!), lime wedges, and sliced avocado if you'd like (or fresh jalapeños if you're craving more heat).