This crock pot of soup would have been perfect to come home to last Monday after an all-day adventure to Fort Rock, Oregon. My husband had this “great” idea to travel an unmaintained gravel/dirt road to our destination — in the middle of winter! Now granted we’ve had several weeks of mild weather and no snow in town proper for quite a while, but the mountains and surrounding hillsides have plenty. What should have been about an hour drive turned into two and a half-hour white-knuckled, door-grabbing ride through 30-plus miles of snow, deep ruts, and icy potholes. As my daughter put it: “It feels like we are on a Disney ride!” I’m not sure how our dog was reacting as she was all the way in the back on her bed. Well thank goodness for four-wheel drive and we didn’t get stuck or bottom out once, but I felt we came close to it several times when our 4-wheel drive alarm kept beeping at us. At one point I was taking stock of what we had on us in the event we got stranded: One bag of pretzels, two granola bars, three full water bottles, two blankets, plus winter coats, hats and gloves. Oh and I found three Jolly Ranchers in the glove compartment and some packets of ketchup. We wouldn’t freeze to death or starve but pickings would be slim. The snowy, windy road finally tapered off to just mud and ruts, and then straightened to lead us out of the forested hills into the high desert, where I got my first glimpse of Fort Rock in the distance. Very impressive! After we hiked up to the top and back down, we visited the “Ghost Town” there called Fort Rock Homestead Village. Unfortunately since it was President’s Day Holiday, the museum was closed, but the buildings were fun to look at and photograph. After the recipe I thought I’d share a few photos of our adventure (OK A LOT), if you don’t mind! It was a very gray day, so the lighting is a bit flat, but I think the photos show you what a neat experience we had!
Black Bean, Chicken, and Hominy Soup in a Crock Pot
Note: To make this a meatless main or vegetarian, sub the chicken for an extra can of black beans and a can of garbanzo beans (chickpeas) and use vegetable broth.
2 cans black beans, rinsed and drained
Handful of fresh cilantro
3 cups homemade or low sodium chicken or turkey broth
1 can undrained Rotel® tomatoes (or can of tomatoes and green chiles)
1/2 sweet onion, chopped
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1 can white or yellow hominy, rinsed and drained
1 teaspoon Pasilla chile powder (also called Ancho)
1/2 teaspoon cumin
Dash of cayenne pepper (or more if you like spicy!)
1 teaspoon Mrs. Dash Garlic and Herb
1 to 2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts
Cilantro and lime wedges for garnish
Tortilla chips (optional)
Add half the black beans and a handful of cilantro to a blender. Pour in about a cup of the broth, then puree until smooth. Add to a large crock pot with the rest of the broth and black beans. Now add the tomatoes, onion, garlic, hominy, chile powder, cumin, cayenne, and Mrs. Dash seasoning. Give it a good stir, then add the chicken breasts. Cook on high 4 to 6 hours or low 8 to 10 hours. Before serving, take the chicken out and shred with two forks, then add back to the pot. Serve with additional cilantro and lime wedges, and tortilla chips if you have some.
And now for our adventure photos! Click on them to enlarge to full size. Fort Rock has a fabulous history, like most old West settlements. Here are links to Wikipedia for it if you are interested in more information on this place.
OK, I’m done!