Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Buffalo chicken soup over the fire

This cooking over the fire thing is turning out to be a bit of an obsession... it starts so innocently. We talk about grilling, or cooking something different. Pretty soon, the question arises. "We should have soup!" "Yeah. And we should cook it over the fire!" Geez.

A few weekends ago, we added a twist. "Do you think we could make a soup that tastes like buffalo chicken?" "You mean, like wings?" "Yeah!"

Challenge accepted!

To create a buffalo chicken wing soup, I studiously avoided googling the phrase. I consulted a tomato soup and a recipe for chicken fajita soup, and decided to use tomato juice and chicken broth as a base. Then I decided to use the same flavors I'd use in buffalo chicken dip -- red hot sauce and ranch dressing.

Vegetables were a bit of a debate. I started with the celery, onion and carrot trifecta. Then I added sweet orange peppers, corn off the cob and kale. Then I added two cans of diced tomatoes, garlic and a small can of green chiles. What we ended up with was really good, if a bit hot. Note -- really consider how much heat you can take before being liberal with the hot sauce!

Buffalo chicken soup

2 large chicken breasts
1 cup Frank's red hot sauce or similar, divided
1 T. olive oil
2 stalks celery, diced
1/2 onion, diced
3 carrots, peeled and sliced
4 cloves garlic, minced
4 small sweet hot peppers
1/2 bottle mild beer
2 ears corn, cut off the cob
2 leaves kale
2 14.5-oz. cans diced tomatoes
1 4-oz. can green chiles
1 46-oz. bottle tomato juice
4 cups chicken broth
1/2 cup ranch dressing
1/2 avocado, sliced

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a cookie sheet, and sprinkle chicken with salt and pepper. Bake for 15 minutes. Then take out, and cut into slices. Top with 1/2 cup of the hot sauce. Bake for an additional 15 min.

Meanwhile, heat olive oil in a saute pan, and cook celery, onion and carrots for about 4 to 5 min. Add in garlic and sweet peppers, and cook four more minutes. Add beer to pan, and stir. Turn off heat.

To Dutch oven, add the sauteed veggies, as well as the corn, tomatoes and chiles. Shred chicken and add to pot. Pour over the tomato juice, remaining hot sauce and chicken broth. Place over the fire for about 45 minutes to an hour. There will be plenty of liquid, so extra time shouldn't hurt.

Once it's cooled, ladle the soup into shallow bowls and top with ranch dressing and avocado. Serve with beer bread or crackers or tortilla chips.

In retrospect, I might lower the liquid by about a cup and add some black beans to the dish. C'est la vie. Overall, we were pretty happy with the result, and plan to make it again! 

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