Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Chili's Chicken Enchilada Soup...in the Crock Pot!

I went on a little road trip down to the Meadowlands in Secaucus, NJ last weekend to the PBGV specialties that take place every year on the Saturday before Westminster. And for lunch between the two shows (parent club in the morning, New Jersey club in the afternoon), a gang of us went to Chili's. As chains go, it's one of my favorites, and I'm sad that we don't have one in my town.  This time, I decided to try some different things on their menu. I ordered a chicken club quesadilla which was nothing to write home about, but I also got a cup of their chicken enchilada soup, which was FABULOUS!

Since the closest Chili's is over in Burlington, I knew I needed to work up one of my copycat versions, and of course, convert it to be made in the crock pot. If I do say so myself, this soup turned out GREAT, and because it makes use of several "convenience" ingredients, it can be thrown together for a weeknight dinner. I also think this would make a terrific potluck dish that people would just love. In fact, as this recipe makes at least four quarts of soup, I will be taking my leftovers into share with my lucky co-workers! ;-)


Crock Pot Chicken Enchilada Soup

2 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 medium onions, diced
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 quart chicken stock
1 tablespoon chicken soup base
2 teaspoons ground cumin
2 teaspoons chili powder
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper, to taste
1 (8 oz). can tomato sauce
1 (19 oz.) can enchilada sauce (or two 10 oz. cans)
6 small corn tortillas*, minced
16 oz. Velveeta, cubed
1 cup co-jack cheese, shredded
1 22 oz. bag Tyson roasted and diced chicken, thawed
1 can whole kernel corn**, drained (optional)
Garnishes: pico de gallo, sour cream, shredded cheese, crunchy tortilla strips

In a skillet, heat the vegetable oil over medium heat, and saute' the onions until they are tender. Add the minced garlic and cook another minute or two, then scrape the onions and garlic into your crock pot. Add all the other ingredients, except the chicken and corn. Cook over high heat for two hours or low for four. Whisk until smooth (you may wish to use a stick blender). Add the chicken pieces and corn and heat through, maybe another 30 minutes to one hour. Check seasonings, and garnish as you like before serving.

*Most of the recipes that I found online called for one or two cups of masa harina to thicken the soup. The store I was shopping in didn't carry that, so I got the brilliant idea to just chop up some corn tortillas and let them dissolve in the soup. it worked perfectly, and gave the soup great flavor...just like chicken enchiladas!

**Chili's chicken enchilada soup doesn't have corn in it, but it's delicious in this, amplifying the corny flavor of the tortillas. You could even go crazy and also add a can or two of black beans. That would be yummy, too.

96 comments:

Becca Messina said...

What is chicken soup base? A bullion cube?

Joy Bugaloo said...

No, it's like a paste. I prefer it to bouillon cubes or granules--but those would work fine.

Anonymous said...

How many servings? I am having 19 during the Christmas holidays.Barbara

Gina said...

Well, it filled my five quart crock pot, so that's 20 cups of soup...enough for a small portion for everyone at your holiday gathering, and one for you as well!

Anonymous said...

did you use red or green enchilada sauce?

Joy Bugaloo said...

Red enchilada sauce.

Tracy Lynn said...

What's Tyson roasted and diced chicken? You mean like a seasoned roasted chicken the store cooks and sells ready to grab and go?

Joy Bugaloo said...

Oh, sure. You could break down a roasted chicken from the deli if you like. I used the Tyson roasted and diced chunks in the freezer section...same as the frozen brown-and-serve fajita strips, which you could also cut up and use. Or cook some boneless, skinless breasts and dice those up. Basically, any kind of chicken you like!

Anonymous said...

58I also LOVE this soup and have tried two copy cat recipes for it. Still was not as good as Chilis. I asked our server what type of cheese they used and she said Pepper Jack, cheddar and velveeta. You wrote 1 cup co-jack cheese, shredded? Was that Colby jack cheese? I like your idea of using corn tortillas instead of masa harina because the masa gives it a chalky taste to me.Thanks so much for sharing:) My daughter wanted to go get some today but it was 105 here and I was no a little to warm for soup. :)

Anonymous said...

What brand of enchilada sauce do you use?

Joy Bugaloo said...

I'm not really loyal to any particular brand...whatever's on sale!

Vanessa said...

Looks excellent and I prefer soup bases too!

Erin M said...

A-Mazing!!! My family loved it! When I tasted it, it had quite a kick to it, so I was unsure how my 20 month old son would do with it. Not to fear, he loved it! He kept asking for "more doup" until I finally cut him off! My husband said it was so flavorful... I used homemade chicken stock. Next time I will use homemade enchilada sauce too!

Joy Bugaloo said...

Thanks for the awesome feedback, Erin! Love to hear it!

And to the anonymous poster who asked about the cheese, yes, I used colby jack and then cayenne pepper for heat. But you could always skip the cayenne and swap out pepper jack and cheddar instead of the co-jack. Your call.

Kim said...

Found this on pinterest and it was awesome! Everyone loved it, including kids. I used rotisserie chicken and it worked great. One thing is the shredded cheese did not melt as nicely...but didn't care because it was so yummy. Great recipe

Camden said...

The flavor of this soup was exactly like Chili's. I loved it! However, it was "grainy" I guess from the corn tortillas. I tried whisking it to make it smoother, but it didn't help much. Any tips?

Joy Bugaloo said...

Well...I enjoyed the added texture (and thickening) from the tortillas myself! You could substitute masa harina, but I think that would make it even grainier and one commenter says it has a "chalky" taste. But if you leave out a corn meal component altogether, it's not going to taste as much like an enchilada. Did you use a stick blender to blend it? If so, maybe blend it longer (not just whisking)? Or if it's really offensive to you, you could try straining the soup through a fine mesh sieve. --Gina

Anonymous said...

@Camden, if you used pre-shredded cheese, that's probably where the graininess is coming from because companies have to use a stabilizer powder to keep the shreds separated. Next time, try shredding your own and see if it makes a difference! :)

Hope that helps.

Anonymous said...

This soup is so amazing!!! My husband and I loved it! i put a layer of jack cheese,fried tortillas, avacado, sliced cherry tomatos and chopped cilantro on top...looks super fancy :)

Kayla said...

Oh my goodness! I fell in love with the soup when I had it at Chili's and was so thrilled to try it! Came out amazingly delicious!!!! Also love that it's a crockpot recipe being a college student because I can let it cook while in class. Thanks :D

Jenni said...

I found this recipe on pinterest. I tried this last night and will be having leftovers tonight. We love Chili's chicken enchilada soup and this tastes very similiar. Next time I will only use mild enchilada sauce (I used one medium and one mild this time) and omit the cayenne, because it was too spicy for our family.

It was so quick and easy im the crockpot. I used my immersion blender and it was the perfect texture. I did not add the corn. I used rotisserie chicken. We topped with cilantro. Thank you for this recipe. It is definitely going into the rotation.

mlsnell said...

I am eager to try this, but will need to wait for some cooler weather (and after we get the frige and freezer cleaned out a bit!). Does anyone have any idea how well this would freeze/reheat? Only cooking for family of two here...

Kristi said...

I saw this recipe and had to try it. So glad I did, it was a big hit with the whole family, all 12 of them. It's hard to please that many people all at the same time, but they all enjoyed it. Will definitely be a meal to have again

Anonymous said...

I am wondering, could I replace the velveeta with more shredded cheese from a block? Thanks!

Anonymous said...

Was wondering since this makes so much if this freezes well?

Joy Bugaloo said...

I suppose you COULD replace Velveeta with more cheddar. I'm sure it would taste good, but you'll lose that very soft, smooth texture that you get from the processed cheese. Think of the difference between nachos made with melted cheddar cheese and nachos with Cheez-Wiz type sauce.

To the other poster, I haven't tried it, but I see no reason why this wouldn't freeze well. Of course, you could just make a half batch! ;-)

Tina Ylinen said...

Made this today, its not even actually finished just added the chicken, corn and black beans. I think I could make this every weekend and my family be would happy- we have already tasted cause we couldnt wait. I used chicken breasts that I brushed with oil and seasoned with a little Slap Your Mamma seasoning for a little extra kick. This was a great recipe. Thank You Lindsey!

Anonymous said...

Do you cook the chicken before adding it to the crockpot?

Joy Bugaloo said...

Yes. I used cooked chicken for this, added at the end for about a half hour, just to heat it through.

Beth Zimmerman said...

I wanted to let you know that I reviewed, and linked, this recipe for The Pinspiration Project, on my blog, this weekend. Hope it brings you some visits. Great recipe!

Anonymous said...

Hey has anyone tried to can this recipe? I am looking for hearty soup type meals to can. I think it will work, don't know about the cheese part though. Thanks for the recipe and the feedback

Rachel @ My Happily Ever After said...

i made this last night and it was incredible. i'm a huge fan of this soup and our chilis closed so it was awesome to have a whole crock pot full of it! thank you for sharing your recipe!

Anonymous said...

Delicious! Thanks :)

Anonymous said...

Would it still turn out okay if I put in raw chicken breasts at the beginning with everything else? We've got a one year old and I'm trying to find SUPER quick recipes for our family. Thanks!

Joy Bugaloo said...

Hmm, haven't tried that, so I can't say for sure. But if I were going to attempt it, I would slice the breasts into bite-sized pieces first, then add to rest of the soup before cooking. Otherwise, they might not have enough time to cook through, plus it would make a big old MESS trying to fish whole breasts out and slice them afterwards. However you do it, be sure to report back and let us know how it goes! --Gina

Lettitia said...

Found this on Pinterest and we loved it!! It's so good. I cut the extra tortillas into strips and baked them with a little oil to make crispy strips on top. My husband wanted it a little thicker so I might try to add more tortillas next time. Thanks for the great recipe.

Anonymous said...

I made this tonight and ohmygoodness it's good! I used a deli rotisserie chicken, pepper jack and colby jack freshly grated cheese and my husband said it was "slap your momma good. I will definitely be making this again!

ij said...

I used cream of mushroom to thicken it..it was awesome, for those who don't want it too cheesy.


Inspired by eRecipeCards said...

Hey Lindsey... First tim here and greetings! Just wanted to let you know I "borrowed" your recipe and turned it into more of a stew. I did give you all due credit and hope you are at least amused by my changes! Thanks, terrific recipe and I do love the original, but my pantry forced me to make a few changes.

Dave

BTW...Come see your name lovingly in print if you like...
http://erecipecards.blogspot.com/2012/11/better-than-chilis-enchilada-soup-now.html

Anonymous said...

Any idea how many calories per serving?

Joy Bugaloo said...

No clue. But anything with Velveeta in it wouldn't be terribly figure-friendly. (Ha ha.)

Kim said...

This is in my crockpot right now. My tastebuds have never been so happy!

Randi said...

You go girl, look at all your comments on this. I had a bowl of this soup at Chilis yesterday( Julie got a free meal for Veterans day) and we traded. I took the soup/salad, she took my happy hour nachos. Anyway, I thought chili's version was really salty. I went looking on pinterest and found yours. LOL.

Kim Marshall said...

If u don't have an immersion blender could u use a regular hand mixer?

Joy Bugaloo said...

I would just puree it in batches in your blender or food processor.

Anonymous said...

I just made this with the following variations: I used the Mexican Velveeta. It added flavor and a little spice. I also boiled my chicken breast and shredded it before adding. Really - only because I'm pregnant and can't stomach big pieces of chicken. My husband dished up multiple bowls and my son begged me to show him how to cook it. My sister and a friend are on their way to finish the leftovers! Lol. I did do the breakdown of calories and carbs: I used 1.5 lbs of chicken breast, but everything else was pretty much the same. It came out to about 246 calories and 13 carbs per cup - not bad for what I thought it would end up being and really delicious! This is definitely a new Fall favorite in our house! Thanks! :)

Cindy said...

Where do you find the chicken soup base? What aisle at the grocery?

Joy Bugaloo said...

In the soup aisle, with the bouillion and boxes of stock. Better Than Bouillion is my favorite brand.

Jill said...

Had this last night. Hubs deemed it the best soup I've ever made. He gets the chilis soup every time we go and he said its better than theirs!!!

Anonymous said...

How do you "mince" tortillas'??

Joy Bugaloo said...

Chop them up into very small bits.

Gluten Free Hampers said...

Make a creamier style chili sauce. Puree the chili sauce mixture in a food processor for a smoother consistency.

Anonymous said...

Thanks so much for sharing this, I found it on pinterest and made it yesterday with a couple changes to suit what I had on hand. I used 4 raw boneless skinless chicken breasts, put them in whole with all of the ingredients except the corn and cheeses. I set it for 8 hours on low while t work. Removed the chicken breasts, which were super easy to shred because they were falling apart. I then added the cheeses and let the soup cook for 30 min on high. I then puréed it with my immersion blender. Finally, I put the chicken back in with some frozen corn and cooked until heated through. The results were fabulous! This will definitely be a part of my regular rotation, thanks again!

Anonymous said...

I've got this is the crockpot for tonight. It's my third time to make it. It's so good.

I was wondering if anyone tried putting black beans in there? Would I put them in when I put the corn and chicken in?

Joy Bugaloo said...

Yes, I mentioned black beans in the little note at the end of my original post. Just throw them in with the chicken and corn (if using).

Unknown said...

This was a hit for Monday Night Football! Added the corn and black beans then used roasted cumin in place of regular cumin. Yum!

Carrie said...

My family just had this tonight! It is spot on! Delicious!

Janka said...

Loved this! I was lazy and used taco seasoning and extra cayenne which made it way too salty. It still had amazing flavor but the salt was too mcuh. I can't say I've ever eaten at Chili's so I can't compare to the original. Next time, I'll follow the recipe as written. But this was amazing, thank you :)

Jennifer Jones said...

I don't have a crock pot, any suggestions about making it just in a pot on the stove? changed cooking times or anything??

Joy Bugaloo said...

@Jennifer Jones:
Begin the recipe as written but in a Dutch oven or stock pot. After the initial saute, add everything except the chicken (and corn, black beans, etc. if using) and I'd cook it on medium low for 20-30 minutes, whisking occasionally. Then add the chicken and cook until warmed through, another 5-10 minutes. That should work fine. But do report back!

Jennifer Jones said...

Ok, so I made the soup last night, in my regular pot that I make soup in, I don't have a dutch oven and I am not really sure what it is lol. I first Cooked my chicken (I used 3 boneless skinless breasts cut into chunks), then sauteed my onions and garlin. I used everything else as per recipe except I added 1 more 8oz can of tomato sauce since I wasn't using a crock pot. I also used taco seasoning instead of the corn tortillas and it all turned out wonderfully!

Cindy Loo said...

How much masa harina do i use in place of the corn tortillas? I bought some masa for a recipe i tried awhile back and have almost a whole bag left, might as well use it when i can since i already have it!

Joy Bugaloo said...

One cup, I think. That's what most of the similar-sounding recipes say anyway.

Anonymous said...

Yes I used about 1 cup of masa, but I mixed it into the broth separately and then poured the masa/broth mixture through a fine mesh strainer so I didn't have any gritty/grainy bits the soup. Don't know if it was necessary or not but it turned out great! Thanks for the recipe!!

Kayla said...

Just made this and it is amazing!!!! I put frozen chicken breasts in the crock pot and let them cook. Took them out and shredded them (they shred sooooo easily after cooking in crockpot). Then I put the broth in my blender and returned back to the crockpot along with the shredded chicken.THANKS SO MUCH!

Anonymous said...

it smells so good! in my crock pot right now!! I don't like the rib meat or the artificial taste of cooked freezer chicken so I cooked my onions in my dutch oven skillet and then added them to the pot and then cooked the chicken breasts just enough to brown,diced and cubed in the same pan and added the garlic for a few more so it will add a depth of flavor! very excited to eat it! I will be using the masa instead to thicken, I also use it in my chili and its awesome!!

Anonymous said...

AWESOME! This is the closest version of Chili's that I have ever tried. So close you could have fooled me! YUMMY!!!!

Anonymous said...

This looks like a great recipe! I have tried a copy cat recipe and I used the Masa four- WAY too much masa corn taste! I think using the corn tortillas instead will be better!

Anonymous said...

I made this tonight but instead of using corn I used about a cup of leftover cooked rice I had in the fridge, as well as a can of rinsed kidney bean. And I didn't have any masa but I have found that a small amount of cornmeal sprinkled in works just as well, and it thickens up the soup when it boils without making it taste chalky. Add a dollop of sour cream and some crumbled up tortilla chips... Super yum! Thank you for this recipe, its very forgiving to taking to suit what you have on hand.

BethChastant said...

I made this tonite and it was DELICIOUS! I love this soup from chilis as well and have tried the masa version and this is hands down much better! I added the black beans as well as some cilantro at the end soooooo yummy. i find that cilantro gives spanish dishes that corn flavor that you get from the tortillas/masa. very delicious thanks for sharing! also i halved the recipe and used two boiled and shredded chicken breasts.

John Michael said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
John Michael said...

I am confused as to why this recipe calls for precooked chicken. If it only takes 2 hours to cook and uses precooked chicken (which you add later) why does it need to be made in a crock pot?

Can it also be done using uncooked chicken?

Joy Bugaloo said...

It calls for precooked chicken because I was attempting to recreate a recipe as close as possible to the one at Chili's--and the chicken in that soup seemed to have that sort of commercial, salt solution-injected quality to it. OF COURSE, you may use raw chicken if you prefer. Just dice it up and toss it into the soup at the beginning, as many in the comments section here have successfully done.

And I used a crock pot for a couple of reasons. I like to set it up and have it cook on low all day when I'm at work, and then my roommate (who gets home before me) can just throw in the last ingredients for me in the final hour or so, and it's ready when I get home. It takes about five hours total on low. Also, with all the cheesiness in this soup, I don't want to have to babysit the pot on the stove to make sure it doesn't stick or scorch. But OF COURSE, it doesn't "have" to be made in a crock pot. Nothing does. So if you wish to make it on the stove top, knock yourself out. Won't hurt my feelings one bit. ;-) Enjoy--Gina

John Michael said...

Yeah, I was just thinking, what's the point in using a crock pot if you need to tend to it or come back to add things along the way. Since I love to cook and have no issues with having a pot simmer while I'm doing other things around the house the crock pot seemed unnecessary. But I do appreciate the ability to leave it while I'm at work or doing errands.

Michelle said...

I have a recipe that uses the mass harina, which my Walmart had. The key to having it thicken and not be grainy is to boil it. This makes the soup thicker than when I haven't boiled it and does not end up with a grainy texture. I have never done it in my crockpot, just always on my stovetop, because it doesn't take too long to make. I also use American cheese, because it melts so well, then add cheddar on top of the bowl for that stringy cheese effect of the restaurant version.
I have never found the chicken base, so I just use chicken stock in place of water. I have never used enchilada sauce, I may have to try that.

Anonymous said...

THIS IS THE BEST SOUP I HAVE EVER EATEN HANDS DOWN. I made it a few weeks ago with some roommates and not only was it amazing but its such a large recipe that it fed all 3 of us for days. I recommend adding some white rice into it also if you want something a little more substantial. This is so good that I've been craving it every single day since I made it and its in the crockpot again right now! YUMO

Anonymous said...

I made this yesterday as my area got blanketed with snow for the 2nd time in a week. It is so good! Thanks for the wonderful recipe to make on a snowy day. We had shredded pork burritos and cilantro lime rice with the soup on the side last night for dinner. Yummy!!!

Joy Bugaloo said...

Pork burritos and cilantro lime rice? YUM! I want to come to your house for dinner! Then again, that snow has just made it here, so maybe I need to get busy in my own kitchen!

BethChastant said...

made this tonite again...it was so good i have been craving it! this time i cooked on low and put the chicken in raw and it was cooked perfectly. i pulled the breasts out before using the hand blender and let them cool as i blended the soup. i then cut the chicken into chunks an added it back to the soup along with my corn and black beans. again soooooo yummy! thanks so much for this tasty easy recipe!

Bridget said...

I found this recipe through pinterest and I'm in love!

It's in my crockpot right now and I keep going back for nips while I wait for my husband to come home from work.

I used the Velveeta Mexican cheese and a rotisserie chicken. I wasn't sure what you meant by a cup of co-jack (whether 8oz or 1 cup shredded) so I did just a half of brick and I think it's just fine with that.

I think it could use a something more, so next time I think I'm going to add some white beans (not a big fan of black beans) and a can of chopped green peppers (after it's been blended).

I also ran the recipe through weight watchers recipe builder and from what I came up with 11 WW points plus (figuring 10 servings total).

Thanks again for the recipe! It tastes just like an enchilada!

Melissa Gilmore said...

One of the ingredients is minced corn tortillas, how did you mince them? Thanks! Looking forward t trying this recipe!

Joy Bugaloo said...

You just chop up the corn tortillas as finely as you can. Easy-peasy!

Kati Hagerty said...

This may be the best soup I've ever made. I subbed 2% Velveeta to save on points. I also added a can of rinsed black beans. I ran it through the recipe builder and got 7 points maybe because of the lighter cheese? It is really spicy, so I may scale back on the spices next time.

Has anyone tried to freeze it? That would make this even better!

Anonymous said...

Oh my! Oh my! and Oh my! I have this in the crockpot right now and the house smells incredibly good! (Which is the primary purpose of a crockpot, in my opinion! Just like walking in to a yummy smelling restaurant that causes the juices to start flowing in your mouth!) I, too, put my raw chicken in the pot at the beginning, and will shred it, and blend the soup, then add the chicken with the corn just before serving. And I have some beautifully ripened avocados to go on top with tortilla chips, sour cream and cilantro. I hope I can stand this smell until dinnertime. Thanks so much for this recipe!

Anonymous said...

Made this recipe today, after I pinned it on Pinterest! So happy, I have always loved Chili's enchilada soup and this tastes just as (if not more) amazing! Thanks!

C Kilwy said...

Thanks! Can't wait to make this and hopefully freeze in single serving portions for reheating while at work. (also, so cool you're in P-burgh! we lived up there during the Air Force days...)

Anonymous said...

Has anyone tried it without Velveeta??! I'd love to make a "clean" version.

Megan said...

I am going to sub cream cheese for the velveeta and add some cheddar. I bet that would give you the creaminess without using processed cheese!

Joy Bugaloo said...

Great idea! Be sure to report back and let us know if it works. :-)
--Gina

Anonymous said...

The recipe says veggie oil, the instructions say olive oil. Since the olive oil has a strong presence which one did you use...or does it matter for this recipe? Thanks!

Joy Bugaloo said...

Oh my gosh! All these years and all these comments, and you were to first one to catch that boo-boo! I will fix it. I don't really think it matters, but I would go with the vegetable oil. (My bad.)

Thanks for catching that. --Gina

Smeadows said...

Haha! That's awesome! Thanks for posting so quickly... I am making this today for a progressive dinner and needed a crock pot version. Looking forward to making and eating it!! Yours is one of the only slow cooker recipes out there so kudos to you!! Cheers!

Jessica M said...

Love this recipes, I've made it bunch times in past 6 months!! I use your suggestions and add both black beans and corn, its delicious. I top it with diced green onions, tortilla strips and sour cream. Everyone whose tried it loves it. I dump everything in night before including tyson diced chicken, corn and black beans and it comes out great that way too just in case you hadn't tried it that way. We love spicy so we triple the cayenne pepper, delicious! I always use minced corn tortillas and they disappear, never had to use blender or anything it seems smooth texture when I get home, i cook it 10 hours on low so maybe b/c cooks so long. Thanks so much for great recipe, I am sure make this permanent rotation at my house!!

Tina said...

How much tortilla chips do you use to thicken the soup. (Crushed and in cups)

Tina said...

Also can I use flour tortilla chips.

Joy Bugaloo said...

Hi, Tina. You don't use chips. You use chopped-up corn tortillas. --Gina