This recipe is very appropriate to share this week. Why? Well, the hubs and I are headed to Mexico in less than 24 hours for an adults-only long weekend excursion with a few of our other new-parent friends! I am feeling, I guess you could say, less than relaxed about it at the moment, but hopefully that will change in the coming hours.
The house, dogs, and Kieran will all be well tended by our extremely generous family members who are chipping in with their love and time to make this getaway possible. Construction will start on our house to help rebuild from the freak accident that happened a few weeks ago. Insurance money has finally started to arrive. My car replacement has already been finalized. All materials and details for a work conference happening next week are prepped, complete, and ready to go. So, really, I have nothing to worry about.
That’s not my nature, of course. I am a worrier through and through, and everyone who knows me well knows that I won’t truly relax until I’m sitting poolside with a margarita the size of my head in hand. Even then, nagging little thoughts will invade my serenity…mostly because I’m leaving my one year old for the longest stretch of time yet. Eeek. He will be fine. We will be fine. I know this. Really, I do. And yet, still, I’ll have panicky, totally irrational thoughts about his well being while we’re gone.
Not to mention how much I’m going to freaking MISS him. Ugh! He is at SUCH a fun age right now (people aren’t lying when they tell you it keeps getting better and better). He’s walking up a storm and thoroughly thrilled with his new mode of transportation all over the house. Chasing the dogs has taken on a new meaning, and he’s loving it (the dogs…well…not so much). He’s SO interactive and chatty (in baby babble) and fun…gah, I really don’t want to leave him. It’s going to be tough when we drive away. I don’t want to miss a single second.
I am someone, however, who feels very strongly in making your marriage a priority after kids. My husband and I made a promise to each other before we even got pregnant that we would always make time for each other…even if it adds up to only one or two date nights a month. It’s imperative. I mean, we had our first date night out like two weeks after Kieran was born. Yeah, we were both walking zombies, but it felt so good to get out of the house and just be together…just the two of us again…even if it was only for a couple hours. So far, we’ve done really well with this little “rule,” but going away without Kieran for five days….eeek! Gonna be tough.
So, while I am super excited about this trip and really looking forward to some uninterrupted one-on-one time with my hubs, I am finding that comfort food has been on the menu these past few weeks. Call it a culinary prepping…a coping mechanism…for what I know will be an awesome but bittersweet experience.
Because the nature of this trip is TROPICAL…we haven’t been eating too much indulgent food as of late. Lots of roast chicken and salads and roasted veggies…all good stuff…all comforting foods…but not exactly what I go for this time of year. I am more of a “gimme all the short ribs and pasta you got” kinda gal come November. As a result, this healthy-but-SUPER-cozy-feels-more-decadent-than-it-is soup has been in the rotation.
And I’m so thankful for that! It is deeeeelicious. Packed with protein and veggies all while tasting absolutely fantastic…it’s a healthy comfort food dream. When it comes to these types of soups and stews, though, I really am all about the toppings. Wedges of buttery avocado or a showering of peppery, fresh cilantro just MAKE these types of dishes for me. And let’s not forget generous dollops of sour cream.
Well, the dollops are on hold at the moment. Bathing suits in November…I’m telling ya, it’s just not right. So, while sour cream and I will be reunited soon (counting the days!), I had to come up with a creamy element for this soup that wouldn’t totally undo all my good intentions. The chipotle-lime crema was my answer! It’s still plenty creamy and cuts into the spiciness of the soup, but it’s pretty friendly to the waistline as well. The best (and most important) part? It still tastes great.
There’s just something about that drizzle, am I right? Mmm. Makes everything look and taste great.
Like most soups, this one comes together relatively quickly. I cut a few corners and used canned beans and cooked chicken from the store. I just buy a Rotisserie chicken, remove the skin, and shred the meat off the bones by hand. It’s guaranteed to always taste delicious and it is key for me during a busy week. You can have dinner on the table in a flash with a little help from the store, so why not take it when you can?
And just because I get this question a lot: yes, you can absolutely make this in a slow cooker. I would sauté the veggies first, as outlined in the recipe below, but otherwise…this recipe would be perfect for a crock pot, especially given that the meat element is already fully cooked before going in. Winner winner chicken dinner!
I don’t know about you, but a steaming bowl of this soup sounds heavenly right now. I could use a culinary hug. I just have to stay focused on the light at the end of the tunnel….and the many margaritas that are sure to ensue. In the meantime, I’ll be packing for the trip and snuggling the heck out of my baby boy.
Wish me luck, guys! Or send Xanax.
For the Soup:
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 large onion, roughly chopped
- 4 large cloves garlic, minced
- 2 jalapeños, seeded and sliced
- 2 teaspoons dried oregano
- 2 teaspoons dried cumin
- 1 teaspoon chile powder
- 1 (28-oz) can fire-roasted diced tomatoes
- 1 (15-oz) can pinto beans, drained and rinsed
- 1 (15-oz) can black beans, drained and rinsed
- 3 cups shredded cooked chicken
- 1 cup frozen corn
- 6 cups low-sodium chicken stock
- Juice of 1 lime
- 1 cup cooked brown rice
- Salt and pepper, to taste
For the Crema:
- 1 cup plain Greek yogurt
- 2–3 tablespoons milk
- 2 tablespoons adobe sauce (from the can of chipotle peppers)
- 1 canned chipotle pepper
- Juice and zest of 1 lime
- Pinch of salt
- Toasted tortilla strips
- Diced avocado
- Fresh cilantro
- Lime wedges
For the Soup:
- Heat oil in a saucepan over medium heat. Add onion and sauté for 5 minutes. Add garlic and jalapeno and cook for another few minutes until soft and translucent.
- Add spices and cook for 2 minutes until fragrant and aromatic. Add tomatoes and stock and bring mixture to a simmer.
- Add the beans, chicken, and corn and cook for another 15 minutes.
- During the last few minutes, stir in the lime juice and cooked brown rice. Season, to taste, with salt and pepper. Serve the soup topped with the crema and any desired garnishes.
For the Crema:
- Place all ingredients in a food processor or blender and blend until smooth. If possible, make a few hours ahead so the flavors can really develop. Keep covered in the fridge.