Saturday, September 5, 2015

Slow Cooker Santa Fe Chicken for Soup and Sandwich

I rely a lot on my slow cooker.  At first I thought it was just an obsession but I realized how helpful it was when I went out of town to visit a friend and I forgot my own slow cooker.  We were out and about during my visit and I wished during that time I had this convenient kitchen tool to cook a home cooked dish for her which would be there waiting for us when we came back from our errand or tour.  Let us face it, it is quite a challenge to cook at the end of a long day. At home,  I prefer to start my cooking early in the morning or noon using my slow cooker and forget it.

Lately, I have been maximizing the use of my slow cooker by developing recipes that can be versatile enough to use for two or even three different meals.  For example this Slow Cooker Santa Fe Chicken recipe can be eaten as is with rice and a side of salad.  Or one can use the recipe for two other types of meal.  Part of the meat from this Slow Cooker Santa Fe Chicken recipe can be used to prepare a sandwich which has been inspired by the one that I ate at Balducci's Deli and Grocery in Bethesda, MD during my recent visit in that area. My host was swooning over this Balducci's Santa Fe Chicken Sandwich and so did one customer who I overheard expressing her love for it while waiting for the person behind the counter to finish preparing it.  It was indeed awesome.  The other meal, Santa Fe Chicken Soup, can be prepared by adding vegetables like beans and corn to the rest of the chicken and sauce in the slow cooker. 

In this recipe, the chicken is slow cooked in chilies, tomatoes, chipotle, garlic powder, cumin and chili powder. This wonderful combination of  ingredients and spices make both the sandwiches and soup prepared from this recipe delicious and definite winners.   They are so comforting you will forget all the woes and troubles you have at the end of the day when you eat them.

Slow Cooker Santa Fe Chicken for Soup and Sandwich

  • 2 cups canned or fresh diced tomatoes
  • 4 oz canned mild green chilies
  • 1 tbsp tomato paste
  • 1 piece of canned chipotle , chopped
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 piece chicken bouillon
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • 1 1/2 tsp cumin
  • 1  tbsp cornstarch
  • 2 lbs skinless, boneless whole chicken thighs or breasts

Place all the ingredients except the chicken in the slow cooker and mix them.  Add the chicken pieces to the mixture.  Slow cook for 4 hours at high setting or 8 hours at low setting.  I cooked mine in an Aroma brand rice cooker/slow cooker for 2 hours at slow cooker setting.

At the end of cooking one can eat the dish as is with rice or prepare the sandwiches and soup from the dish. One can take out half of the amount of chicken meat and 1 cup of the sauce and set them aside for the sandwiches and then add beans and corn and more water to the rest of the dish in the slow cooker to prepare the soup. 

Proceed to the following steps to prepare the soup and sandwich.

For the soup:  

8 servings
  • Slow Cooker Santa Fe Chicken recipe above, (half the amount of the chicken pieces and the rest of the sauce)
  • 15 oz can black beans, undrained
  • 12 oz can golden whole corn, undrained
  • 1 cup water (optional.  Skip if you want a thicker soup)
  • salt to taste
  • shredded cheese (optional)

Shred the chicken and add it back to the slow cooker.  Add the three ingredients to the chicken and sauce left in the slow cooker and cook further for 10 or more minutes.  Serve with shredded cheese and corn or vegetable chips.

For the sandwich:

4 servings

  • 1/2 cup light mayonnaise
  • 2 tbsp chopped canned chipotle
  • tiny drop of Sriracha sauce (optional)
  • 4 ciabatta bread or other type of crusty bread
  • half of the chicken meat from the Slow Cooker Santa Fe Chicken recipe prepared above, whole or shredded and divided into four portions
  • 1 cup of sauce from the Slow Cooker Santa Fe Chicken
  • 4 pieces roasted red pepper from a bottle or a can
  • 4 pepper jack cheese or other cheese
  • lettuce any kind

Combine the first three ingredients to prepare the chipotle mayonnaise.

To prepare one sandwich.  Toast 1 ciabatta bread.  Spread both sides of the toasted bread with 1 tablespoon of the chipotle mayonnaise on each side.  Layer the following on top of one side of the bread: lettuce pieces, 1 piece roasted pepper, 1 portion of the chicken doused with 1 tbsp or so of its sauce, and 1 pepper jack cheese.  Place the other side of the ciabatta on top and toast again for a few minutes to melt the cheese. Repeat the procedure for the other three sandwiches.

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