My year can be broken into two categories, as defined by soup. It’s either soup season or it’s not soup season. Here in Wyoming, soup season lasts far longer than not soup season. Soup season around here starts in September and runs through about April, and there shall be no soup (cue Seinfeld- “NO SOUP FOR YOU!”) in May, June, July, or August, except for perhaps a random May snowmageddon which leaves our town buried underneath 2-3′ of frozen white fluff -OR- a traditional July chili cook-off. It just does not feel right to eat something so piping hot and soul-warming when the sun is trying to melt your skin off every time you step outside the house. Period.
(Seemingly, I don’t tolerate heat well. When said skin melting is happening, it’s probably barely 85 degrees… yet another reason I am an autumn girl through and through.)
The onset of fall means a lot more to me than just pumpkin and apples and all things baking. It also ushers in the comfort food we all long for when the temperatures start to drop and our bodies subconsciously tell us we should prepare for hibernation. Soups, stews, and chili… slow-cooked roasts with veggies… layered and hearty casserole dishes. These are the dinners that just feel like fall.
In essence, I really think the reason I love fall so much is because fall embodies comfort in my world. Whether we are talking food, hoodies and flannel, college football on the couch on Saturdays, or an excuse to sip on warm beverages like apple cider and London Fogs all damn day… it’s just coziness at its finest.
I PROMISED my husband I would not start my full-on Fall madness until the calendar officially rolled into September. September 1st was just too busy with all that football, but September 2nd- phase 1 of fall decor was implemented, including switching out all the candles to pumpkin pie and vanilla spice, and fall coffee flavors from my favorite online shop were ordered. September 3rd- Labor Day- soup snuck its way onto the dinner menu like a thief in the night. Shhh…
I really wasn’t sure what direction I was heading in when I started this soup. It was maybe going to be chicken tortilla, maybe chicken chili, and what we ended up with was what I consider to be more of a taco soup. By what standard I determined this, I do not know?
I relied on the convenience of the Instant Pot to cook chicken taco meat quickly. Two pounds of boneless, skinless breasts go in with ample seasonings and a can of Rotel. Pressure cook on high for 16 minutes or until the chicken shreds easily with two forks (or you can use another time-saving trick and use your hand mixer- yes, it really works!). Once shredded, return half of the chicken to the Instant Pot and let soak in the flavor-filled cooking liquid. Store for later use in chicken tacos, burrito bowls, or tostadas. Two meals in one: work smarter not harder.
While the chicken is cooking, you will build your soup on the stove top. TONS of delicious vegetables will soften in extra virgin olive oil, heavy seasonings will be mixed in, followed by chicken broth and eventually the other half of the shredded chicken. Patiently wait while everything simmers together, and then enjoy yourself a big bowl of nutritious goodness.
One more quick note before we (finally) jump into the recipe. If you love a well-balanced sweet and spicy combination as much as I do, I highly suggest you check out Sweet Viking. She makes incredible relish and candied jalapenos, and in true philanthropic spirit donates a portion of every jar sold to Rescues Rescuing Veterans– a worthy cause, no doubt. I add just a few tablespoons of the relish to this recipe, to ensure it stays mild enough for the kids to enjoy, but garnish with a little extra every time I make myself a bowl. I highly suggest you check it out.
Chicken Taco Soup
Chicken Taco Soup
For the chicken:
2 lbs boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1/2 tsp pink Himalayan Sea Salt
1 tbsp EACH cumin, garlic powder, & chili powder
1 can Rotel, drained
1/4 C unsalted GF chicken broth
- Add all ingredients to Instant Pot. Set to pressure cook on high for 16 – 21 minutes until chicken shreds easily. Return 1/2 of the chicken to the Instant Pot to soak in the flavor-filled cooking liquid, then allow to cool slightly and store in the refrigerator for another use. The remaining chicken will be used in the soup.
For the soup:
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 large sweet onion, diced
1 red and 1 orange bell pepper, seeded and diced
4 cloves of garlic, pressed or minced
1 tbsp each of cumin and garlic powder
2 tbsp chili powder
1 tsp pink Himalayan sea salt
1/2-1 tsp cayenne, depending on spice preference
1 tsp paprika
4 oz can Hatch green chilis, drained
1 15-oz can sweet corn, drained
2 10-oz cans Rotel tomatoes, drained
1 15-oz can black beans, drained and rinsed
2 tbsp sweet pepper relish (I used Sweet Viking, as noted above)
3 tbsp tomato paste
2-4 C unsalted GF chicken broth
2 tsp Sugar in the Raw, or sweetener of your choice, optional
Reserved half of shredded chicken, approximately 3 1/2 cups
- In a large pot, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add the onions and bell peppers and saute until slightly softened, 5-7 minutes. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant, 1-2 minutes.
- Add all spices to the veggies and stir well to mix. Cook together for 5-7 minutes. (I have found that adding the spices in at this point helps build better flavor layers in soups.)
- Add the green chilis, corn, tomatoes, black beans, sweet pepper relish, and tomato paste. Stir well, then add 2-4 cups chicken broth, depending on how much liquid you want in your soup. I prefer thicker soups and landed right in the 3 cup ballpark. Stir in sweetener, if using.
- Add the shredded chicken to the soup and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low and let simmer together for at least 15 minutes. I recommend closer to 30 if you’re not pressed for time just to really let the flavors meld together.
- Serve with additional sweet pepper relish, sliced black olives, and, if you’re not dairy free, copious amounts of cheese are most definitely recommended. Additional topping ideas are sliced avocados, a squeeze of fresh lime, crushed tortilla chips, and sour cream. Make it your own and enjoy!
This make A LOT of soup. It’s great for lunches for adults and kids alike. I feel like, once the liquid soaks into the leftovers as they sit in the fridge, this would also be excellent over rice in a burrito bowl.
What dishes do you look forward to making most once cooler weather looms on the horizon? Show me what you’re in the kitchen cooking- find me on Facebook – @ifitbakesyouhappy -OR- follow me on Instagram – @if_it_bakes_you_happy. Cheers!