This post may contain affiliate links, which means I get a little off the top to help me keep this website running. It doesn’t cost you extra or affect my opinion.
Southwestern Chicken Stew originally started off as a copycat of Chili’s Chicken Enchilada Soup – one of my favorites – and has grown into something heartier, spicier and in my humble opinion, better.
Like all of my favorite recipes, it’s easily adaptable and it’s ready in less than half an hour as well. Don’t like an ingredient? Omit it or replace it with something else!
A friend of mine that I shared this with a while back told me she buys a rotisserie chicken from the grocery store and uses that as a shortcut to make it even simpler.
This meal calls for a chipotle spice blend, the recipe for which is in my ebook. You can easily swap it out for your favorite tex-mex or taco seasoning if you don’t have it.
Just make sure it’s something tex-mex or Mexican inspired so it melds, and is actually a Southwestern Chicken Stew.
Here are some extra tidbits to consider:
For a vegetarian version, I omit the chicken and replace the chicken broth with vegetable or plant protein broth instead. Sometimes I’ll toss in some fake chicken or seasoned tofu. My daughter loves it.
You might need to reduce the amount of kosher salt in this recipe if you’re not using a salt-free spice blend. Taste as you go and remember that the cheeses have salt in them.
Add more chicken broth to thin it out if you like.
If you don’t like spice reduce the cayenne and use mild enchilada sauce.
If you don’t want to cut the chicken up, just use a hand mixer to shred it. You will need to cook the chicken all the way through if you choose to shred it.
My family likes to eat it with tortilla chips, cilantro, pico de gallo and more shredded cheese on top.
There’s a video and more photos of this dish on Instagram. If you try it please let me know what you think!
Make your spice blend if using, and use 2 tbsp of it along with 1 tsp of salt* to coat all sides of the chicken evenly.
In a large dutch oven heat a couple of tablespoons of olive oil over medium high heat. Add the chicken in one layer and let cook undisturbed until the edges of each piece start to become opaque, about 4 minutes. Flip the chicken and sear on the other side for another 2-3 minutes. It doesn’t need to be cooked all the way through, as it will continue to cook when we add it to the stew later*.
After all of the chicken is seared remove to a plate to rest. When it has cooled enough to handle, dice into small chunks and set aside.
Reduce the heat to medium and toss in the diced bell peppers. Sprinkle the remaining salt over them and let them sweat for a full minute. Stir, allowing their moisture to release the bits stuck to the bottom of the pan. After a couple of minutes stir in the garlic and cook for 1-2 more minutes.
Now, sprinkle your masa harina over the peppers and stir. Stir continuously for about 3 minutes. You don’t want any lumps of corn flour, and it should deepen in color.
Stir in your chicken broth, remaining tex-mex spice blend and dried minced onion. Bring to a low boil.
Now stir in your corn, rotel, beans, and monterrey jack cheese. I like to do the cheese in batches so it melts more easily.
After the cheese is melted and the stew is simmering again, stir in the chicken and enchilada sauce.
Once combined, stir in the remaining cheese in batches.
Reduce heat to low, cover and cook for 20 minutes. Stir occasionally so it doesn’t stick the bottom of the pan.