Friday, November 2, 2012

Better Than Chili's Enchilada Soup... Now a Stew

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Much as I try, sometimes I just can't stop myself...

This started out as a copy cat recipe and I had every intentions of following the recipe through as written.  If you have never tried the delicious creamy, cheesy, Tex-Mex delight of the Enchilada Soup from Chili's restaurant, you are missing something special.  I recently saw a "pin" of a copy cat recipe from a new favorite pinner, Lindsey from Lindsey's Luscious.  You can see Lindsey's take on the dish HERE, Chili's Chicken Enchilada the Crock Pot!...

As I said, I started out with very good intentions, working on my shopping list and checking off what I had in my pantry.  And then I started pondering...

Now, I am not really one to use many processed foods in my dishes.  If it comes out of a can with ingredients I can't pronounce, I generally try to work up a more ... Well, a more less processed alternative.  I did some looking and canned "Enchilada Sauce" is simply a soupy tomato puree.  And that's where it started, the "well, I don't need that, cause I can do this" thoughts started spinning.  Then I saw Velveeta on the list.  My mind snapped at the thought of too many processed products.  Much as I like an occasional Velveeta Cheese dip, and I fully recognize the advantages of the smooth creamy melting properties of a box of "V", something about a product that was legally forced to change their name from a "Processed Cheese Food" to "Processed Prepared Cheese Product" bothers me in large quantities.

I hate to be a snob, and I really do not mean to get on a "real Foods" soapbox, but i made a decision a few years ago to avoid processed foods.  So, I continued to ponder.

Long story short (too late), the creamy delicious ACCURATE Chili's Copy Cat Recipe that Lindsey posted (Again, Click HERE) sounded perfect.  But I thought about it and decided I could do a bit better (well, different anyway).  My soup came out much thicker and more of and Enchilada Stew than a soup.

As to better than Chili's... or Lindsey's... Well, that's open to debate, but mine is pretty good...

So, with apologies to Chili's... but with gratitude for the inspiration,

Here's what I did...

Better Than Chili's Enchilada Soup now a Stew

  • 2 TBS Olive Oil
  • 2 Medium Onion. Large Dice (quarter size), (divided, added to the stew at different times)
  • 4 Cloves Garlic, Minced
  • 2 Cups Chicken Stock
  • 1 tsp Ground Cumin
  • 2 tsp Chili Powder
  • 1 tsp Fresh ground Black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp Cayenne Pepper
  • 1/2 Jar (1 Cup) Marinara Sauce (I can my own, but any store bought jar of spaghetti sauce will work)
  • 1 small can of Tomato Paste
  • 12 Corn tortilla Chips (yep, nacho chips, works great as a soup thickener)
  • 8 OZ Colby Jack Cheese, grated
  • 8 OZ Cheddar Cheese, grated
  • 2 Whole Tomatoes, diced (divided, added to the stew at different times)
  • 1 Cups Frozen Corn, thawed by running hot water while straining
  • 2 Cups Meat from a Rotisserie Chicken (I used one breast and one leg/thigh quarter)
  • 1 Cup Half and Half
  • Juice of 1/2 a Lime
  • Salt and Pepper to Taste
  • Garnish with Sour Cream, Herb Rice, Lime zest and crunchy Tortilla Strips
Cooking Directions
  1. This is a crock pot recipe made in two stages. First can cook all day while the final stage will take an hour before it is ready to serve... First, set your crock pot to high.
  2. Heat 2 TBS Olive Oil in a heavy frying pan. Add 1 Onion and saute until softened and they turn translucent.
  3. Once the onions soften, add the garlic and saute for another 2 minutes.
  4. Transfer to a crock pot and add the Chicken Stock.
  5. Add the spices, Chili Powder, Cumin, Black and Cayenne Pepper
  6. Add the Marinara Sauce and Tomato Paste and stir to combine.
  7. Add the cheeses and the tortilla chips (crumbled) and again... Stir to combine and allow to melt (about 20 minutes set on high)
  8. Add one diced tomato, stir to mix and cover the crock pot. Now you are done for a couple of hours set on high or for several hours set on low.
  9. One hour before you plan to serve, add 1 cup Half and Half
  10. Take a wand hand blender and blend away until smooth. Taste the soup and add any additional spices as needed (note, the tortilla chips are heavily salted, so be careful about adding additional salt).
  11. Add Chicken, Diced about same size as the tomato
  12. Add Onion, Diced about same size as the tomato
  13. Add the juice of 1/2 a lime
  14. Add the Rotisserie Chicken Meat (again... Diced) and the corn
  15. Stir to mix... Cover and set Crock pot on High for one hour
  16. Taste and add additional seasonings as needed...
  17. Add one more Tomato, large dice, one more stir, not too much, save the texture of the raw tomatoes, no mush)
  18. Garnish with Rice, Sour Cream, Lime Zest and/or tortilla strips
  19. Serve HOT and ENJOY!


So,  I am pleased to list this as one of my Growing list of  "52 Recipes for Soup, Chili or Chowder" (Now more than 52 and still growing)

Soup from Scratch is one of the great kitchen joys.  The house smells amazing and the soup warms to the bone.  From broth to chowder, vegetarian to loaded up chili... Even a great idea for a party (love the Potato Soup Bar idea).  Come take a look, sure to have something you might like to try.  All recipes have been tested and WORK!

So, I am pleased to add this as one of my growing list of "52 Uses For a Rotisserie Chicken"  (Now close to 100!)

MUCH more than a chicken sandwich.  From Scratch Pizza to Chinese Take Out recipes, Lots of Soups and Chili... Appetizers to Main Courses (Still can't find a dessert, but I am looking).  More than enough ideas for that store bought bird to shine with just a little extra work.  All recipes have been tested and WORK!


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  1. This does look very cheesy and decadent. I like very thick stew-like soups the best. Thanks for sharing it with Souper Sundays this week. ;-)

  2. This recipe is delicious! But I just want to note that the instructions never say to add the corn, and it has adding the chicken twice. I just put the corn in the last hour. Very good!