Clara’s Slow Cooker Chicken Tortilla Soup


Aaah!  This post is long overdue.  I took a quick trip to Texas to visit my family which prompted a minor state of depression after returning to a snowstorm from the land of blooming azaleas and temps that start with a 7.  I was also in the midst of making some 11th hour changes to my commercial kitchen set-up, which created a few short-term delays.  But, I’m delighted to announce that the Clara Burke Kitchen will be sharing space with Taco Trio, a new authentic Mexican restaurant opening in Mill Creek, South Portland in a week or so.  Once they’re up-and-running, we can get the prepared meals going in no time!

Jello Mold

In the meantime, I’ve been experimenting with some recipes I found in my grandmother’s recipe drawer when I was down in Texas.   I should have taken a picture of this drawer – the recipes themselves are everything from hand-written scraps of paper to newspaper clippings to community cookbooks. They easily span five decades.  I pretty much expected a pre-divorce Betty Draper to appear with a Heineken, Jello Mold and snarky comment.  When that didn’t happen, I concentrated on finding the recipes that I remembered, sounded great or are in my grandmother’s handwriting.

So, given my time constraints in the kitchen recently, the Slow Cooker Chicken Tortilla Soup’s preparation ease seemed like a good first recipe.  This recipe used canned enchilada sauce, which I’m not a huge fan of, so I ended up embarking on making my own.  But, perhaps homemade sauce isn’t necessary if you have a canned brand that you like and can find around you.

My husband was surprised this was one of my grandmother’s recipes.  Being a native New Englander, he apparently didn’t even see a Taco Bell until the early 90’s, let alone guzzle that nacho cheese from a Taco Cabana drive-thru in high school.  So, it’s a bit foreign to him that Mexican flavors and ingredients really permeate the regional cuisine.  Not that Taco Bell, Taco Cabana or Tortilla Soup are exactly authentic but you get my drift.  Slow Cooker Chicken Tortilla Soup

Really, this is so easy and so good.  I think the kids would like it too because it’s topped with CHIPS!

Clara’s Slow Cooker Chicken Tortilla Soup

Makes about 6-8 servings.
Prep Time = 20 minutes
Total Cook Time =  6-8 hours on low; 3-4 hours on high


1 1/2 pounds shredded chicken (I roasted 3 medium split chicken breasts but you could easily use the meat from a rotisserie chicken)

1 can (15 oz) whole tomatoes (I love Muir Glen)

10 oz enchilada sauce (see below for my recipe or you can try a canned sauce)

1 medium white onion, chopped

2 poblano chiles, roasted (or one 3 oz can chopped green chiles)

2 garlic cloves, minced

2 cups water

1 can (14 oz) chicken broth

1 t cumin

1 t chili powder

1 t salt

1/2 t black pepper

1 bay leaf

1 10oz package frozen corn (I used Roasted Corn which they have at Trader’s Joes)

1 T dried cilantro (or parsley, if you don’t have dried cilantro)

Good quality tortilla chips

Fresh cilantro, optional

Avocado, chopped, optional


  1. In slow cooker, combine chicken, tomatoes, enchilada sauce onion, garlic, chiles.  Add water, broth, cumin, chili powder, salt, pepper and bay leaf.  Stir in corn and cilantro.  Cook and cover on low 6-8 hours or on high 3-4 hours.
  2. Garnish with tortilla chips, fresh cilantro, avocado or farmer’s cheese.


Basic Red Enchilada Sauce

Great substitute for canned!  And, the enchilada sauce freezes well so you can pop extra in the freezer to make enchiladas another day.

Makes about 2-3 cups.

1 can (14oz) Diced tomatoes (preferably fire roasted)

6 poblanos chiles, roasted

1 Red Pepper, roasted

1-2 chipotle peppers in adobo, chopped

1 T lime juice

1 T cilantro, chopped

1 jalapeno, seeded and chopped

1 T sugar

1 T chili powder

1/2 t cumin

1/4 t salt

  1. Combine all ingredients in food processor or blender.


2 Responses to Clara’s Slow Cooker Chicken Tortilla Soup

  1. Steven Hedlund says:

    Funny reference to my childhood. It's true. My first taste of Mexican food came in 1993 at the new Taco Bell on Lincoln Street in Worcester, Mass. Also, no need for two spaces between sentences. It's not a book report for grade school.

  2. Steph says:

    Thank you for your editorial guidelines. We will add those to our style guidelines.

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