Buffalo Chicken Soup

Buffalo Chicken Soup

Have yourself a delicious Soup-er Bowl party!

From Chef Oonagh Williams of Gluten-Free Cooking with Oonagh

This is a great comfort soup recipe for the wintertime. It’s also quite low in fat, so good for watching your waistline, and also suitable for Friday Night Football or the Super Bowl. Add more blue cheese as desired and use cream instead of milk and half and half for an amazing creamy taste, but also huge increase in calories. Do this for parties, but stay with low fat for family meal.

I saw a two-line description in an online menu of this soup “chicken breast in a creamy sauce with hot wings sauce, cheese and topped with blue cheese.” So I took the idea and created my own version. It only has a slight bite from the peppers and a mild blue cheese taste. I don’t like the raw taste of most buffalo chicken dishes, just raw heat with no depth of flavor makes no sense to me. Adjust the amount of heat to suit yourself and use whatever bottle, ground chili, hot sauce you are used to using that is also gluten free. Just remember the hotter you make soup, the more people will drink at a party to cool down their mouths, and you could be liable for any car accidents. I have a girlfriend who lived in San Antonio, Texas for several years and I always have to remind her that not everyone likes or can tolerate 10-alarm dishes. Make this 1-2 days in advance of party and reheat and serve in slow cooker.

Gluten-Free Buffalo Chicken Soup

Makes about 6-8 servings

Ingredients:

  • 1 large onion, peeled and finely chopped
  • 5 slices of bacon, finely scissored
  • 1 tbsp (15ml) olive oil not extra virgin
  • 4 large carrots, peeled and cut into small dice.
  • 4 cloves of garlic, peeled and finely crushed
  • 1+1/2 -2 lb of boneless, skinless chicken thighs.(750 g -1000g) Take off excess fat, then cut chicken in half lengthwise and then cut into thin strips – I do this all with scissors. Chicken breast becomes too dry and chewy.
  • 2 tsp (10ml) Penzey’s smoked paprika – don’t bother to substitute Szego brand.(Penzeys.com or Arlington, Ma store for New Englanders. Penzey’s have other stores in different States.)
  • ¼ tsp of Penzeys ground chipotle or about 1 tsp (5 ml) pureéd canned chipotle or to taste or other hot sauce you like.
  • 4 c (880ml, 1+1/2 pts) gluten-free chicken broth, fresh black pepper
  • 1/4c (60 ml) gluten-free cornstarch – I use Argo brand that is labeled gluten-free. Corn is very easily contaminated in processing.
  • 1 c (8 oz, 220ml) 1% milk
  • 1/2 c (4 oz, 110 ml) half and half. For less calories either substitute fat free half and half or use whole milk. Heavy Cream is wonderful. Or even Asian style coconut milk.
  • ¼ c (60ml) blue cheese crumbles. You can buy small plastic packets of crumbled blue or Gorgonzola cheese at about $2 for 4 oz/125 g. There are many varieties of blue cheese out there and they will all give a different flavor and strength. This amount of blue cheese is very mild since I am not a blue cheese lover, but you do know it is blue cheese. You can also serve additional blue cheese in a bowl for people to help themselves. Please don’t get over enthusiastic adding the blue cheese. I had about 1 extra tablespoon left in packet and added it. Then, even my husband wouldn’t eat the soup and he loves blue cheese.

Directions:

1. Put onion, bacon and oil in large pan, and gently cook until onion is soft and turning golden.

2. Add carrots and cook gently for about 5 more minutes.

3. Stir in chicken strips, smoked paprika and chipotle, stir well so chicken is covered in spice mix and let cook for about 5 minutes until chicken is seared on all sides.

4. Stir in garlic, chicken broth and freshly ground black pepper, bring to a boil, turn down to a simmer and cook covered for about 30 minutes until carrots and chicken thighs are tender.

5. Blend cornstarch with 1% milk, and add this mix to pan. Cook stirring occasionally until soup thickens and then let cook for about 3 more minutes to ensure cornstarch is cooked out with no raw flour taste left. Add fat free half and half at this stage, it has a tendency to break up if it is cooked too long.

6. Taste soup and see if you want more pepper or hot pepper. You probably won’t need salt since the blue cheese will add salt.

7. Add blue cheese, turn off heat and allow soup to stand for a few minutes. Then stir well to mix blue cheese throughout the soup.

8. Serve and enjoy.

Note: the mold for blue cheese was traditionally grown on wheat bread, so you have to check that the blue cheese available to you is gluten-free. I telephoned ‘President’ brand of cheeses in December 2010 to check that their cheeses were still gluten-free. They won’t clearly state that their cheeses are gluten-free, but they said that no wheat, rye or barley is used, there is no gluten in the plant and they use white distilled corn based vinegar. They also do not test for gluten. So your choice. However, January 2013 their website stated:“Many of the cheeses we manufacture are from ingredients considered to be gluten-free, but since we do not confirm this with testing, we refrain from making any such claims. We understand how important this subject is to many of our customers. Please check back with us from time to time. This is something that we are presently working on. (I haven’t checked, and FDA guidelines changed many companies labeling policies.)


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