We loooove chili in our house. In a rather depressing statement shortly after we got married, my husband declared that he didn’t care for soup very much. He definitely didn’t consider most soups to be a meal. Maybe with a whole sandwich, but usually not. This completely broke my soup-loving heart. Since we have cold weather in Pennsylvania for about half of the year, it’s not strange to find me eating soup once a day for almost six months straight. As I picked my jaw up off the floor, he claimed that he did, in fact, love chili and would gladly eat it as often as he could. So at least there’s that! This means that even now, eight years into our marriage, I’m constantly looking for new and exciting chili recipes. Variations that I can make or a spin that I can put on the classic beef chili. I prefer chicken in my chili and always gravitate towards a smoky, creamy based with tender, pulled chicken thighs and a few different beans. Enter: the chicken chili soup mix! Oh my word, this is so, so delicious. I had one plan in my mind, and it included my slow cooker. There is nothing that I love more than a GOOD slow cooker recipe. The emphasis has to be on “good,” because many times I feel like after using the slow cooker for a few days, everything starts to taste like… slow cooker. It all starts to taste the same. In fact, this kept me from breaking out my slow cooker for months. But then I had a baby and the amount of time that I had to throw dinner together dramatically decreased, so out came the slow cooker again – and it made life so much easier. I absolutely love that this chicken chili mix uses dried beans. Beans rank up there as one of my favorite foods, especially when they are made from scratch. They are so creamy and rich. When they are actually cooked IN the soup, that creaminess translates into the entire pot and makes for such a lovely, thick soup. This checks off all the items on my list. Super flavorful, hearty, creamy, satisfying and the perfect consistency for dipping a big hunk of cornbread. It’s perfection!
Creamy, Smoky Slow Cooker Chicken ChiliServes 4 to 6
- 1 ½ tablespoons olive oil
- 1 ½ pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon pepper
- 1 sweet onion, diced
- 1 red bell pepper, diced
- 4 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 (14-ounce) can fire roasted diced tomatoes
- 2 (4-ounce) cans diced green chilies
- 1 Harry and David smoky chicken chili mix
- 6 cups chicken stock
- 3/4 cup half and half
- 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- thinly sliced jalapeno peppers
- crushed tortilla chips
- finely grated cotija cheese or queso fresco
- fresh chopped cilantro
- Heat a large skillet over medium heat and add the olive oil. Sprinkle the chicken thighs with the salt and pepper. Add them to the skillet and sear until both sides are deeply golden brown, about 1 to 2 minutes per side.
- Transfer the chicken to the slow cooker. Place the onion, pepper, garlic, diced tomatoes, and green chilies over top. Pour the soup mix in along with the chicken stock and stir. Cook on low for 8 to 10 hours. After 8 to 10 hours, remove the lid of the slow cooker and pull the chicken apart. (It will most likely fall apart.)
- Place the half and half in a shaker bottle. Add the flour on top, cover, and shake for 30 seconds to create a slurry. Stream the mixture into the slow cooker and stir. Cover and cook on high for 30 minutes. Remove the lid and cook on low for 30 more minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Serve with lots of toppings, like grated cheese, tortilla chips, avocado, jalapeno peppers and cilantro.