Fire Up Your Chowder With Buffalo Chicken!
I guess Buffalo wings were my destiny. When I was in high school, my English teacher, Summer Peasley, invited me to her home town of Buffalo for a visit and took me to the Anchor Bar where I had my first encounter with Buffalo wings – it was love at first bite!
I am crazy about Buffalo wings. It seems like whenever I visit a new restaurant, if there are Buffalo wings on the menu I will try them – sometimes they are perfect and others, well…not so great. My brother-in-law makes great wings and I always request them when we visit them in Tennessee. I’ve watched him make them and it is quite a production with the deep fryer that you would use to fry a turkey. It takes him a while to fry batch upon batch to get them just right – crispy and cooked all the way through. That’s just too big of a commitment for me to make at home so I had to find another way to get the spicy deliciousness of buffalo wings with a fraction of the work.
If you are a reader of my previous blogs, you know I am a soup lover. I like soup because you can make it in advance when you have some extra time and it just gets better the longer you let it sit. So I got to thinking, why can’t you make a soup or chowder that has that satisfying buffalo wings taste? So I decided to give it a try.
The most critical component to Buffalo wings is the sauce. My brother-in-law uses a combination of Frank’s Original Hot Sauce and Hooters Wing Sauce and it is a mighty delicious combination. Some people say that Frank’s Original Hot Sauce is the closest thing in a bottle to the real deal Buffalo wings sauce at the Anchor Bar and I tend to agree. .
With a little imagination and a lot of inspiration, my experiment paid off on the first try. My Buffalo Chicken Chowder with Poblano Chilies is something everyone in your family will love. If you are in a hurry, it works just as well with shredded rotisserie chicken from the grocery store. Just skip sautéing the chicken and toss it with the 3 tbsp of hot sauce mixture and finish the recipe as written. You can even make a vegetarian version by just leaving out the bacon and chicken and substituting your favorite vegetarian protein product. If you want the chowder a little thicker, use King Arthur Flour Signature Secrets Thickener – this is the best stuff ever. It dissolves instantly and doesn’t clump or make lumps. I use it all the time when I make soup or gravy. Use as little or as much as you like depending on how your prefer the thickness of your chowder. Make sure to have all the traditional Buffalo wings accompaniments like celery and carrots with blue cheese dressing or ranch dressing. It’s spoon lickin’ good!
Buffalo Chicken Chowder with Poblano Peppers
3/4 cup Frank’s Original Hot Sauce
2 tbsp. butter
4 slices bacon, cut into into lardons
1 lb. boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1 inch cubes
1 large onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 fresh jalapeño, seeded and diced
1 tbsp. smoked paprika
1/2 tsp. crushed red pepper, optional if you don’t like it too hot
2 cups either frozen or canned corn
1 large red potato, peeled and cut in small dice
4 cups chicken stock
1 cup low fat milk
2 poblano peppers, blistered, peeled and seeded and cut into 1 inch strips
Smoked salt, freshly ground black pepper, to taste
King Arthur Flour Signature Secrets Thickener
Chopped fresh cilantro, green onions and blue cheese crumbles, for serving
Melt 2 tbsp. butter in a microwave safe bowl. Add the hot sauce and stir to combine and set aside.
Heat a dutch oven pot over medium heat and add the bacon and cook until crispy. Remove the bacon from the pan and set aside on a paper towel to drain the fat. Drain all but 2 tbsp of the bacon fat and add the chicken to the pot and brown on all sides, about 3 – 5 minutes. Remove the chicken to a bowl and add about 3 tbsp of the hot sauce mixture and stir to combine and set aside. If needed, add a little more oil or bacon fat to the pan and add the onions, garlic and jalapeño and sauté about 5 minutes. Add the chopped potatoes and sauté another 4 – 5 minutes. Next add the paprika, crushed red peppers and a pinch of smoked salt and pepper. Saute another minute or so and then add the corn to the pot and toss to combine and sauté another 2 to 3 minutes. Add the chicken broth, remaining hot sauce mixture and milk to the pot and let simmer at least 20 minutes.
Using an immersion blender, pulse until half the soup is creamy but still has chunky pieces of potatoes and corn. Taste for smoked salt and pepper. Add the chicken to the pot and the roasted poblano peppers and cook another 5 minutes. If you would like the chowder a little thicker, you can add a little slurry of cornstarch and water of use the King Arthur Flour Signature Secrets Thickener (preferred) and cook another 5 minutes.
Ladle into soup bowls and garnish with reserved bacon lardons, blue cheese crumbles, cilantro and chopped green onions. Now dig in!!