Slow Cooker Tex-Mex Chicken Stew

The last week of December brought us our very first major snowstorm of the season. It happened early in the course of a long 4-day weekend, and the timing could not have been more perfect! We didn’t have anywhere to be so no need to rush and shovel the snow as soon as it fell or worry about how long it was going to take for the plows to actually come down and clear our road. I always enjoy the first snow of the season, but dare I say I think even Shane was a fan of the winter wonderland we woke up to that weekend.

Seeing the snow on the ground flipped a switch in my head and immediately had me craving soups and stews. There’s nothing like sitting under a warm blanket on the couch with a big bowl of soup and watching movies on a snow day. We’ve done an awful lot of it lately :)

Slow Cooker Tex-Mex Chicken Stew

I have a goal of using my slow cooker for more than just pulled pork this winter so I flipped through a few cookbooks recently and flagged a bunch of soups and stews to try. First up was this Tex-Mex Chicken Stew, and it did not disappoint. I love the simplicity of the recipe – other than microwaving the onions to soften them up, it really is a case of dumping everything in the slow cooker and letting it do its thing. The stew is really healthy too, if you’re looking for lighter options here in the new year.

Though it’s light, the stew is hearty and flavorful, and there’s definitely room to make it your own. As written below, it’s not very spicy but feel free to leave in the ribs and/or seeds of the jalapenos or add an additional chipotle chile or two to give it some kick. The original recipe also called for black beans but given what happened the last time I served them to Shane, I took a pass this time. This recipe makes a ton of stew so you’ll be eating it for days, but we enjoyed the leftovers just as much so no complaint here!

Slow Cooker Tex-Mex Chicken Stew
adapted from Slow Cooker Revolution

{Note: if you want to add black beans to the stew, do so at the same time you mix in the corn.}

2 medium onions, minced
2 jalapenos, seeds and ribs removed, minced
6 garlic cloves, minced
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1 tablespoon canola oil
1 tablespoon chili powder
4 cups low-sodium chicken broth
1 (14.5 oz) can diced tomatoes, drained
1/4 cup Minute tapioca
1 tablespoon light brown sugar
3 lb boneless, skinless chicken thighs, trimmed
2 cups frozen corn
1 chipotle chile in adobo sauce, minced
1/4 cup minced fresh parsley

Combine the onions, jalapenos, garlic, tomato paste, oil, and chili powder in a microwave-safe bowl. Microwave for about 5 minutes (stopping to stir once or twice), or until the onions have softened. Transfer the mixture to the slow cooker.

Add the chicken broth, tomatoes, tapioca, and brown sugar to the slow cooker and stir to combine. Season both sides of the chicken with salt and pepper then add it to the mixture in the slow cooker. Cover and cook on low for 4-6 hours, or until the chicken can easily be shredded.

Remove the chicken to a cutting board and when it’s cool enough to handle, shred it. Meanwhile, allow the stew to sit untouched for at least 5 minutes, then use a spoon to skim any fat from the surface.

Add the corn to the stew then cover and cook on high for 10 minutes to heat it through. Stir the shredded chicken in along with the chipotle chile and cook for 5 minutes to re-warm the chicken. (If the stew is too thick, you can adjust the consistency with additional chicken broth – I didn’t think it was necessary.) Stir in the parsley and season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve as is or over white rice.