slow cooker tex-mex chicken stew

ah, martha, you almost got me again. for me, she's always been hit or miss. on one hand, my favorite basic yellow cake comes from martha stewart. her peach pie is out of this world. chicken & pearl couscous with tomato and lemon is one of the best meals i've had this year. and then there are the flops, which i also need to get better at documenting. these peanut butter swirled chocolate cupcakes sounded delicious but are far from it. and her one bowl chocolate cake? while not a disaster, i'd take ina's version over martha's any day.which brings me to this stew.

as written, a cup of dried pinto beans are put in the slow cooker with the rest of the ingredients. the theory is that cooking the beans at a low temperature for a long time - more than 8 hours - in liquid will soften them. great in theory, not so good in practice. we were left with beans that had way more bite to them than desirable. halfway through my bowl i started pushing them to the side with my spoon, making it easier to toss them in the trash when i was born. it's unfortunate, since this is another ridiculously simple and delicious slow cooker recipe.

so i remedied the pebbly beans. instead of adding dried beans, add a can (or homemade cooked beans) at the end and mix them in to warm through. you'll be rewarded with a rich creamy stew with perfectly cooked beans. 

slow cooker tex-mex chicken stew
adapted from martha stewart

the salsa you choose will determine the level of spice and heat in the final stew. remember, you can always add more spice by adding chili powder if needed, but it's impossible to remove heat once added. i am not a fan of spicy food and used a jar of medium salsa. jason thought it was good, i thought it was a touch too much and will use half a jar of mild and half a jar of medium next time.

1 1/2 cups (12 ounce jar) mild or medium salsa
2 tablespoons chopped canned chipotle chilis in adobo
2 tablespoons flour
1 1/2 pounds boneless skinless chicken breasts
1 medium red onion, sliced
1 bell pepper, sliced
2 cups (16 ounce can) pinto beans, rinsed
sour cream, avocado, cheddar cheese, tortillas and/or green onions for serving
  1. combine the salsa, chilis, flour, and 1 cup water in your slow cooker. mix to combine. 
  2. season the chicken with salt and pepper and arrange on top of the chili mixture. 
  3. arrange the onion and pepper on top of the chicken.
  4. cook on low for 8-9 hours. mix in the beans and shred the chicken. cook a couple minutes longer to ensure the beans are heated through. serve with your favorite toppings.
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  1. For next time (or another time), cook the beans about half way before putting them in the slow cooker for 8 hours. Draining a can of beans is still easier, though...

  2. I always have problems using dried beans, so I gave up on them and always use canned. This soup sounds delicious and comforting so I'm glad you gave it another shot with the bean adjustment -- will be adding this to my to do list :)


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