I think that I’ve mentioned this before on here, but because it’s relevant to this post/recipe I’ll say it again: I don’t like soup.
I never really have, even as a child. I didn’t really know why back then. Now that I’m older and have embraced my love of my food, I have a very clear awareness of what I like, what I don’t like, and the reasons why. My reasons for disliking soup can be summed up in one word: consistency.
I just don’t like the consistency of soup. When I was a child I can remember never really liking Campbells’ soup from a can, but I can also remember holding a particular preference, even a like for Dinty Moore’s stews. Looking back, I can say that the preference came from the consistency of the food.
I never really liked having to ‘slurp’ my food, the way you would have to slurp a broth. In my mind, slurping has just always been for beverages and chewing has always just been for food; the lines between the two just don’t need to be blurred. I like my food to have texture, richness and ‘body’ to it; body is just something that to me, most soups are lacking. They lack heartiness to me. I’m never full after I eat them, and for that reason I don’t cook or eat them very much at all.
What does that have to do with today’s post? Well, in the spirit of full disclosure, the inspiration for the flavors of this recipe came from another recipe that some of you may have heard of: taco soup. I’ve seen it floating around mainly Pinterest and it’s become pretty popular as most iterations of it are low calorie, low fat and great for dieting. The flavors in taco soup are supposed to emulate eating a taco; a food that is safe to say, not low calorie or low fat. I like tacos, for sure; soup? Not so much.
So this is my riff, or rather, my improvement on taco soup: Chicken taco stew.
I can’t speak for how low carb, low fat or low whatever my taco stew is, y’all. That’s really not my ministry. What I CAN tell you, is that it is absolutely delicious.
I make the base of my stews to be rather thick and hearty. Again, it’s all about the consistency for me. In my mind, the perfect ‘broth’ of a stew can form a coating on the back of a spoon. The thicker and richer the base, the more I can appreciate the flavors of the food itself.
Don’t be intimidated by the number of ingredients here. It’s mostly seasoning, and the actual process of putting everything together is very straightforward and easy to follow. Combined with the heartiness of the base, the chicken and the beans, this is comfort food to the nth degree. It really is like eating a bowl of tacos that wrap you and your stomach up in a warm hug.
Wear a mask. Social distance. Stay safe.
Chicken Taco Stew
Recipe from Jess@CookingisMySport
- 5-6lbs. boneless skinless chicken breast, cubed into 1 inch pieces
- 2 1/2 cups flour, divided
- 2 tablespoons onion powder
- 1 tablespoon garlic powder
- 1 tablespoon smoked paprika
- 1 tablespoon ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon black pepper
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1 large or 2 mediums yellow sweet onion, sliced thinly
- (2) 14.5 oz. cans fire roasted diced tomatoes
- (2) 4 oz. cans diced green chiles
- (1) 15 oz. can corn
- (1) 15 oz. can black beans
- (1) 15 oz. can pinto peans
- (4) 1 oz. packets of taco or fajita seasoning
- (1) 1 oz. packet of dried ranch dressing seasoning
- 2 bay leaves
- 2 tablespoons honey
- 64 oz. chicken broth
- 1 cup water or milk
- Salt and pepper to taste
Divide the cubed chicken into two 1 gallon sized plastic bags.
In a medium size bowl combine 2 cups of the flour with the onion powder, garlic powder, smoked paprika, cumin, black pepper, and cinnamon. Stir together with a fork.
Evenly divide the flour mixture between the two ziploc bags. Seal tightly, then toss to coat thoroughly, so that there is an even layer over meat.
Coat the bottom of a large non-stick stockpot or Dutch Oven with a few tablespoons of canola, vegetable or olive oil. Brown the floured meat over high heat on the stovetop. Don’t worry about it cooking all the way through, just cook long enough to give it some color. When it’s browned, temporarily move the meat to a sheet pan. Don’t overcrowd the pot, you’ll have to repeat/do this in about 2-3 batches to get through all of the meat.
When you’re finished browning the meat, add a little bit more oil to the pot, then add the onions. Cook over medium heat until they’re softened and translucent, 5-10 minutes. Remove the onions from the pot and place them with the browned chicken.
Pour the remaining 1/2 cup of flour into the pot. Allow it to cook over medium heat until it’s browned and smells toasty, about 3-5 minutes (don’t walk away from it, it can burn easily.)
Once you can smell it begin to toast, pour in the chicken broth, the diced tomatoes, green chiles, taco/fajita seasoning, ranch dressing seasoning, bay leaves, honey, and the water/milk. Use a wire whisk to stir to dissolve the flour clumps quicker.
Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to a simmer. Salt and pepper to taste. Depending upon your taste preferences you may need to add a little more cumin, or onion powder too. Allow it to cook for about 10 minutes, until it begins to thicken and the flavors begin to meld together.
Taste and adjust for seasoning, then add the chicken and onions back to the pot.
Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer stew, uncovered for about 45 minutes, until the chicken is fork tender.
Add the beans and the corn to the stew, stir with a large spoon and allow to cook for an additional 15 minutes.
Serve with chips, salsa, sour cream, cilantro or melted cheese on top.
Linking this post to Fiesta Friday #355, co-hosted this week by the lovely Jhuls@The Not So Creative Cook.