Hearty Buffalo Chicken Soup Warms the Body and Soul

Whether mild, medium, hot, or flame-shooting, hole-in-your-tongue molten-lava hot, the flavor of buffalo chicken wings is an American favorite. I will treat myself to a dozen medium-heat crispy buffalo wings every now and again, but the deep-fryer is not a close friend of mine. It’s not easy to relinquish my beloved foods in the name of a healthier lifestyle, so I find a way to compromise when I can.

Ta-da! Not only does buffalo chicken soup have all the flavor I cherish, it warms me up after shoveling snow and also keeps my doctor at bay.  And what would buffalo wings be without celery and carrots? Yep!  I got you covered; they’re in there, too.

To make this soup as easy as possible, I bought a plain rotisserie chicken at the grocery store and cut it into bite-sized pieces. The whole chicken weighed in at just over a pound of cubed, cooked meat.  If you prefer, you may cook — but don’t brown — a pound of chicken breasts in the skillet and cut the meat up before cooking the vegetables.  

Keep in mind that this is a recipe, not a chemistry exam, so you can increase or decrease the ingredients by a little here and there to taste. For example, I like extra carrots and celery, so I used a full cup of each. You might notice that I did not include salt and recommend low-sodium chicken stock for this recipe. The hot sauce contains enough sodium and flavor to make additional salt unnecessary, and the degree of heat obviously depends on the amount of hot sauce you use.  I found that 1/2 cup satisfied my preference of medium heat, so you might adjust the amount you use based on that.

If you want an extra treat (or need to douse the flames) serve this soup with a quesadilla or grilled cheese sandwich.

Buffalo Chicken Soup

1 tablespoon olive or vegetable oil

¾ cup carrots, sliced

¾ cup celery, sliced

¾ cup onion, diced

1 tablespoon garlic, minced

1 lb. chicken breast, cooked and cut into bite-sized pieces

8 cups low-sodium chicken stock

¼ – ½ cup Frank’s® hot sauce, to taste

1 cup instant potato buds or flakes, optional

Shredded cheese, your choice, optional

3-4 sliced green onions, optional

¼ cup Bleu cheese dressing, optional

¼ cup Ranch dressing, optional

Crumbled bleu cheese, optional

In a stockpot over medium heat, combine chicken stock with Frank’s® hot sauce. 

Meanwhile, heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add carrots, celery, and onions; stir a few minutes to soften but do not allow to brown.  Add minced garlic and heat an additional thirty seconds until fragrant.

Add vegetables and chicken to stockpot; stir to combine.  Allow to heat through but do not boil. Vegetables should soften but remain firm. 

Serve with optional items below, if desired. Refrigerate any leftovers up to three days; freeze up to two months.

Optional potato buds or flakes: If you prefer a heartier soup, sprinkle ¼ cup instant potato flakes over soup in the stock pot, stir to combine, and add additional potato flakes in ¼ cup increments until you reach desired consistency. Add potato flakes just before serving. Do not allow soup to heat more than a few minutes after adding potato flakes, or the soup will become gummy and gross.

Optional bleu cheese or ranch dressing: Stir in ¼cup bleu cheese or ranch dressing and allow to heat through just prior to serving.

Optional shredded cheese, green onions, crumbled bleu cheese:  Sprinkle up to one tablespoon in any combination of optional items over soup just before serving.

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