My grandfather was a big enchilada man—he even made his own enchilada sauce from scratch. He learned the technique from the cooks on the ranch where he grew up and passed his recipe on to my mom and me. Enchiladas and beans taste like home to me, and this slow cooker soup recipe is so delish, I can almost see Gramps smiling down from heaven. MAKES 4 to 6 SERVINGS OF SLOW COOKER ENCHILADA SOUP.
• 6 dried California or New Mexico chiles
• 7 cups water, divided
• 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
• 1 medium onion, chopped
• 4 cloves garlic, minced
• 1⁄3 cup dried pinto beans
• 4 large tomatoes, coarsely chopped
• 1 teaspoon cumin seed
• 2 teaspoons dried Mexican oregano
• 1 cup tortilla chips made from stone-ground cornmeal
• 1 cup grated sharp cheddar cheese or smoked Gouda
• 1/2 cup sliced black California olives
• 1/2 cup sliced scallions
• 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
• 1/2 cup sour cream
1. Remove seeds, stems and veins from chiles, then tear into pieces. Soak in 1 cup water for 2 hours or overnight.
2. In a large sauté pan, heat vegetable oil over medium heat and sauté onion for about 10 minutes, or until lightly browned. Add garlic and cook 2 minutes longer.
3. Rinse pinto beans and place in slow cooker, along with onion, garlic, tomatoes and remaining water. Puree soaked chiles and water in blender and pour sauce into slow cooker. Cover and cook on low for 8 hours, or until beans are tender. Add cumin and oregano about 1 hour before serving. Salt to taste.
4. Ladle enchilada soup into bowls. Top each bowl with tortilla chips, cheese, olives, scallions, cilantro and sour cream.
Lynn Alley is a writer who lives in Southern California. This recipe is excerpted from her new book, 50 Simple Soups for the Slow Cooker (Andrews McMeel Publishing, 2011).
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