1largeboneless skinless chicken breast (or 2 small.), see notes if using cooked chicken
4oz.cream cheese, cubed and softened
1cupcheddar cheese, shredded
½cupMonterey Jack cheese, shredded. (Can also use more cheddar.)
Prep Work: Combine the seasonings and set aside. Take out the cream cheese and allow it to soften. (See notes for a quick way to do that.) Shred cheddar and Monterey jack cheese from a block and set aside.
Heat butter and olive oil in a large soup pot over medium heat. Add the onions and the peppers. Soften for 4 minutes, then add the garlic and cook for 1 more minute.
Add all remaining ingredients except for the cream cheese and shredded cheese.
Bring the soup to a gentle boil and allow the chicken to slowly cook through (a rapid boil will make it tough). About 15-20 minutes. Remove the chicken and use two forks to shred. Return it to the soup.
Reduce heat to low. Stir in the softened cream cheese until combined, then stir in the shredded cheese until melted.
Taste and add any additional seasonings as needed, then serve!
To soften the cream cheese quickly: Heat 2 cups of water in the microwave. Place cubed cream cheese in the microwave and close the door. Let it soften for 5 minutes.
Feel free to spice it up with 1/2 cup Cabot Hot Habanero Cheese or another kind of spicy cheese if you like heat. (This would be in place of the Monterey jack.)
Shred the cheese from a block, it will melt and taste much better than packaged shredded cheese.
Make sure the base isn't too hot when the cheese is added or the dairy will separate and the consistency will be grainy.
Cooking the chicken: You can let the chicken simmer over very low heat for a longer period of time. This makes the chicken extra juicy and the broth extra flavorful. Bone-in chicken thighs may also be used. Any variety of bone-in chicken creates a very flavorful broth as well. If you plan on simmering for an extended period of time, add the black beans and corn when you remove the chicken from the soup to shred it.
Using rotisserie or leftover chicken: 2 cups cooked chicken can also be used. You can add it at the same point as the chicken breast is added in the recipe and simmer for 15 minutes to let the flavors blend, but no need to bring it to a boil.
An 8 oz. can of tomato sauce may be used as an alternative to enchilada sauce but I prefer the depth of flavor that enchilada sauce adds. My homemade enchilada sauce tastes great in this soup.
You can also try my Chicken Tortilla Soup recipe which is similar to this and doesn’t require any enchilada sauce.
Crock Pot Method
Soften onions, peppers, and garlic in butter on the stovetop. Transfer to Slow Cooker along with all remaining ingredients except for the shredded cheese, cream cheese, and garnishes.
Cook on low for 6 hours. (I recommend low heat to keep the chicken juicy and tender. Cooking it over higher heat makes it tougher. If necessary, it can be cooked for 4 hours on high.)
Turn off heat. Gradually mix in the softened cream cheese and shredded cheese and stir to incorporate.
Store in an airtight container and refrigerate for up to 3 days or freeze for up to 3 months. (This soup freezes well!)