2chipotle chiles in adobochopped (**purchase these in a can and save the rest for another use; DO NOT use the whole can in this recipe!)
115-ounce can reduced sodium pinto beansrinsed and drained
4cupslow sodium chicken brothdivided
Corn tortilla strips or 6 small corn tortillas: see notes to make your own stripsthis is a must-have!
Shredded Monterey jack cheese
Chopped fresh cilantro
In a large skillet, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Once hot, add the onion, jalapeno, red bell pepper, green bell pepper, garlic, chili powder, cumin, and salt. Cook until the onion in softened, about 6 to 8 minutes.
Stir in the garlic and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds.
Transfer mixture from the skillet to the bottom of a 6-quart or larger slow cooker. Keep the skillet handy.
Arrange the chicken breasts on top of the mixture in the slow cooker. Add the tomatoes, chiles in adobo, salt, and pinto beans.
Stir the cornmeal together with 3 cups of the chicken broth. Pour into the slow cooker.
Cover and cook on LOW for 5 to 6 hours, until the chicken is falling apart tender. Dice or shred the chicken, then return it to the slow cooker. Let cook on low for 5 to 10 minutes to allow the flavors to marry.
Taste and add salt or seasonings as needed. If the soup is thicker than you would like, add in the remaining 1 cup chicken broth until it reaches your desired consistency.
To serve: ladle into bowls. Top generously with tortilla strips and other toppings of choice.
TO MAKE YOUR OWN TORTILLA STRIPS: Place a rack in the center of your oven, and preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Coat a large rimmed baking sheet with nonstick spray. Stack the tortillas and cut them in half, then slice each half into 1/2-inch strips. Place in a mixing bowl, drizzle with 1 tablespoon olive oil, and sprinkle with 1/4 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Toss to coat, then spread them into a single layer on the prepared baking sheet. Bake until golden brown and crisp, about 8 to 10 minutes, turning halfway through. If they aren't quite as crisp as you'd like, give them a few more minutes. Set aside to cool.
TO STORE: Refrigerate soup in an airtight storage container for up to 4 days.
TO REHEAT: Rewarm leftovers in a Dutch oven on the stovetop over medium-low heat.
TO FREEZE: Freeze soup in an airtight freezer-safe storage container for up to 3 months. Let thaw overnight in the refrigerator before reheating.