Cooking columnist Sybil Pratt calls The Mexican Slow Cooker “mother’s little helper” for its easy translation of Mexican dishes to slow cooker prep. She also calls it the Cookbook of the Month, and with delicious recipes like this one, it’s easy to see why.
Chicken Soup with Tortillas and Avocado
- 2 guajillo chiles, stemmed and seeded
- 1/2 cup hot water
- 2 tomatillos, husked and washed
- 2 Roma tomatoes
- 1/2 small white onion, diced
- 1 large clove garlic
- 1 small carrot, peeled and finely diced
- 2 chicken breasts (about 11/2 pounds total)
- 2 teaspoons kosher salt
- 5 cups Caldo de Pollo (page 95)
- 2 cups water
- 1/4 cup fresh cilantro leaves, or 12 fresh epazote leaves, shredded
- To serve
- 3 corn tortillas
- 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
- Diced Hass avocado
- Lime wedges
Heat a heavy skillet over medium-high heat. Add the chiles and toast on both sides, turning occasionally and pressing down with a spatula, until they soften and blister. Remove from the pan. When the chiles are cool enough to handle, tear them into small pieces and place in a heatproof bowl. Add the hot water and soak the chiles, stirring occasionally, for 30 minutes.
While the chiles soak, line the skillet with a piece of aluminum foil. Add the tomatillos to the skillet and roast over medium-high heat, turning occasionally, until lightly charred in spots and softened. Remove the tomatillos from the skillet.
In a blender, combine the chiles and their soaking liquid, the tomatillos, tomatoes, onion, and garlic and puree until very smooth. (For a smoother texture, you can press the mixture through a fine-mesh sieve, if you like.) Transfer the puree to a 5-quart slow cooker. Add the carrot, chicken, salt, broth, and water and stir. Cover and cook on low for 4 hours, or until the chicken is tender.
While the chicken is cooking, cut the tortillas in half, then cut the halves into strips 1/4 inch wide (or cut them into small squares.) Heat the oil in a small skillet and fry the tortillas until crisp. Drain on paper towels.
Remove the chicken from the slow cooker and discard the skin and bones. Shred or dice the chicken into 1-inch pieces and return to the broth. Add the cilantro. Heat through, taste, and adjust the seasoning.
To serve, divide the fried tortilla pieces among the serving bowls and ladle the hot soup over them, including some of the chicken in each bowl. Garnish with a few pieces of avocado and serve very hot with the lime wedges on the side.
- Scatter a bit of grated Monterey jack cheese or queso fresco over the tortillas before you pour the hot soup on top.
- Add 1 cup cooked garbanzo beans to the cooker for the last hour of cooking.