Crock-Pot Chicken Posole

Friends, I have resisted the allure of the crock-pot for years. YEARS. In my mind, crock-pots produce such things as sticky, too-sweet barbecue meatballs, casseroles swimming in cream-of-whatever soup, and meals that all generally tasted the same – like not-quite-great pot roast. Meals long simmered past the point of distinct flavors and textures – no thank you.

But some of you have requested, pleaded even, that I get a crock-pot and post recipes here in the Whole Kitchen. And when I read Rick Bayless’ cookbooks and see that even he uses a crock-pot, I decided that my fears 1980s crock-pot meals needed to be set aside so that I could face the ‘pot honestly.

For my first attempt, I went with a recipe that I was comfortable with and felt low-risk for cooking in the ‘pot. Our pantry was a bit bare after spending the holidays in Michigan and I was recovering from a gluten-attack, so I also wanted to make something from what was in the house so I wouldn’t have to walk a mile to the store. Posole was an easy winner – when I’m gut-sick most people might want bland food, but I will always crave brothy soups spiked with chiles. Posole fit the bill nicely.

So far as I can tell, contemporary crock-pot meals are not the one-pot affair so cleverly marketed back in the day – this one required three pots: one to cook hominy, one to saute the aromatics and the crock-pot insert, but it was well worth the dishes. The finished soup was every bit as good as stove-top cooked posole – the chicken was perfectly cooked not dry or water-logged, the vegetables retained their distinct identities and I really enjoyed that once everything was in the pot, I could just forget about it until serving time. I think I’m going to like the crock-pot life.

What are your top crock-pot tips and recipes? Help me out with a liltle advice in the comments section below!

Crock-pot Chicken Posole
Adapted from my stove-top posole recipe
Serves 6

1 cup whole, dried hominy
2 bay leaves
1/2 tsp salt

Cooking hominy: Place the dried hominy in a large bowl and cover with three inches of water. Soak overnight. After soaking, drain the corn and rinse it. Pour the corn into a 3qt pot, fill with water, add salt and bay leaves. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer and cook for an hour, until the hominy is about ¾ cooked – the corn will still be a little tough and very chewy. Strain and put the corn in the crock pot. (You can substitute a 28 ounce can of cooked hominy if you don’t feel like cooking it from dried hominy)

½ chicken, skin removed and broken down into a few pieces
4 cups chicken stock
1 14oz can fire-roasted tomatoes with chipotles (Muir Glen brand)
1 T oil
1 onion, chopped
2 stalks celery, chopped
2 carrots, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 large red bell pepper, seeded and chopped
2 T corn flour
¼ cup tomato paste
3/4 cup frozen sweet corn, thawed
2 T ancho chile powder
2 tsp cumin, ground
2 tsp smoked paprika
1 tsp coriander, ground
½ can of black beans, drained and rinsed (optional)
cooked hominy
cilantro & sliced green onions for garnish
juice of half a lime
salt to taste

  1. Place the raw chicken pieces and mostly cooked hominy in the slow cooker.
  2. Heat a large soup pot over medium heat. Add the oil, onion, celery, carrot and bell pepper to the pot and saute for about 5 minutes, until the onions are translucent. Sprinkle the corn flour over the vegetables, then add the garlic, ancho chile powder, tomato paste, cumin, smoked paprika, cumin and stir for one minute. Add the can of fire roasted tomatoes and stir, cooking for another 5 minutes to develop the flavors.
  3. Scoop the tomato-vegetable mixture into the crock pot and pour in the chicken stock and stir it all together. Set the crock pot to cook for 4 and a half hours on low, and let the crock pot do the rest of the work.
  4. When the timer beeps, remove the chicken pieces from the pot and let cool for a few minutes before removing the meat from the bones and dicing into bite-sized pieces. Add the diced chicken back to the crock pot and add the black beans and sweet corn. Stir, taste and add salt as needed. Heat through, then squeeze the juice of half a lime into the pot. Stir, then serve each bowl garnished with cilantro and green onions.

11 thoughts on “Crock-Pot Chicken Posole

    • Glad I’m not the only one that craves spicy food when I’m sick! I used to always go for spicy thai noodles when I had migraines and tummy trouble, but no more now that I know that soy sauce is wheaty, too, and I never think to make my own spicy noodles…I should give that another go!

  1. I have a crock pot cookbook that I just hate. Everything seems pre-packaged, unhealthy, and bland. I like you am not completely sold on it past the dishes like beef stew and pork roast. I’m glad you are going to test some out for us. This looks great and sorry you got glutened up north.

    • Yep, I looked at a few crock cookbooks, and came to the same conclusion that you did. I do think that the crock might be my new default for soups, though – it was pretty nice just to let it simmer and not worry as much as I went on to do other things. Thanks for the gluten-sympathy – though that may not have been it in the end, since I can’t figure out where I might have been glutened, and my mom and aunt came down with a stomach bug at pretty much the same hour that I did on Sunday, maybe it wasn’t gluten for once, though the results were the same.

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  3. I highly recommend “Not Your Mother’s Slow Cooker Cookbook” by Beth Hensperger. Not sure how much of it is gluten free, but it’s definitely not a “Cream of Mushroom soup” kind of cookbook. And her recipe for Butternut Squash soup is awesome! You roast the squash whole in the slow cooker, then scoop out the insides to make the rest of the soup. It’s my new way to cook squash (I always fear serious knife injuries when trying to do anything with uncooked squash). It’s at least worth checking out of the library.

    • Thanks, Kristen – I’ll definitely check that one out. I upgraded my Cooks Illustrated online account to include their cookbook recipes so I could access their slow cooker recipes, but even those ones contain alot of pre-packaged stuff, and they’re not really my thing – your book reco sounds more up my alley. And I’m with you on the fear of knife injuries with butternut squash!

  4. I don’t use a crockpot nearly as much as i should. i did just make a rump roast the other night, which would have been scrumptious, but i forgot to turn my timer on and I forgot about it – literally. needless to say, it was overcooked, but that was my bad….. ha ha

    happy new year!

    • Happy New Year to you, too! I somehow managed to find room on the counter for the crock-pot, so I’m hoping its large, hulking presence will encourage me to use it more. I think it’s going to be a great help in my weekly soup-making.

  5. Hi, Looks great. Will definitely try. But what brand of corn flour do you use? I always thought that the regular corn flour sold in the supermarkets had some flour mixed in them and hence wouldn’t be Gluten-free.

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