There's a plethora of great reasons to go over to my brother's house. Quality time with family, hilarious stories, delicious free food, and great lighting. Erm...understand that my kitchen has horrible lighting, which is why a lot of my pictures end up coming out rather dark. I could fix this with photoshop, but I lost my last copy. My roommates stopped asking me what I'm doing when I start moving and leaning lamps towards the kitchen so I can get enough light for a decent picture. Most of my favorite pictures that end up on this blog were taken instead at my brother's house. What can I say, I love the electricity there.
I was at my brother's house a couple weekends ago, helping to paint a nursery for my future niece (8 weeks now? She's coming so soon!), and my sister-in-law put together this soup in a slow cooker. The meal was fantastic, so I copied the recipe (out of a family cookbook her close friend gave her). As with most things crock-pot, the dish is both easy to put together and delicious.
Credit must be given where due - my brother assembled the behemouth in this picture. I didn't even think about taking pictures when I topped the soup, and it was to my chagrin that my brother suggested I take some pictures - after I had already started eating. I knew my bowl wouldn't do this soup any justice. Fortunately, he saved the day by topping his in a very photogenic fashion.
4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
2 (15-oz.) cans black beans in liquid
2 (15-oz.) cans Mexican stewed tomatoes (such as Ro*tel)
1 cup salsa
4-oz. can chopped green chiles
15-oz. can tomato sauce
Assorted toppings (shredded cheese, sliced avocado, sour cream, guacamole, onions, etc.)
Combine chicken breasts, black beans, tomatoes, salsa, green chiles, and tomato sauce into a slow cooker and set to cook on low heat for 8-10 hours. After it has finished cooking, remove the chicken with tongs and allow to rest for 10 minutes. Cut into bite-sized pieces and scoop back into the soup. Ladle the soup into bowls and top with tortilla chips. Top with your choice of toppings.
If you're in a rush and didn't quite plan as far ahead as possible, you can cut the chicken into bite-sized pieces before you cook the soup, and cook on high heat for 4 hours. This is exactly what we did this time around, and the chicken was still tender.
This soup is truly a great comfort food. Its warmth combines with the symphony of flavors and spices to produce a delicious melody reminiscent of summer in soup form. Next time I need some good winter comfort food, I'm going to shy away from macaroni and cheese or mashed potatoes, and make myself a nice batch of this chicken tortilla soup.