....with butter-braised chicken + blue cheese croutons. BLUE CHEESE CROUTONS!
As with any cool new thing that I put on this blog, this was one of Jay's ideas. We're all about buffalo anything, but the fried + butter aspect of it....sometimes leaves something to be desired in the pants-fitting department.
So we made soup! Chicken roasted in butter, croutons, a regular onion + celery + carrot base, and some extra raw veggies on top for that blue + buffalo + celery combo we all know and love.
I used chicken thighs in this, which I think work really well in soups. Boneless + skinless dark meat chicken only has 5 more calories per serving than white meat (I read once, it might be a lie), and to me 5 extra calories is well worth it for how much extra flavor you get out of it, RIGHT?
You need butter (a whole stick!), chicken thighs, cubed bread, blue cheese crumbles, carrots, celery, green onions, garlic, tomato sauce, chicken broth, and hot sauce. You'll need salt and pepper too, but you can figure that out without it being in a picture.
First, we'll get the chicken AND the croutons going at the same time. The butter needs to be melted - we use it in 3 different places in this recipe. So, melt the butter and turn the oven to 400F.
Arrange the chicken in one layer in a dish, sprinkle it with salt and pepper, and pour ⅓ of the butter over it.
Then arrange the bread cubes in a separate dish, sprinkle IT with salt and pepper and some of the blue cheese, then pour ⅓ of the butter over that.
Stick the chicken and the croutons in the oven together. After 10 minutes, toss the croutons and stick them back in for 5 minutes more. The croutons will be golden and toasty.
10 minutes after THAT (25 minutes total), the chicken should be cooked through!
Use 2 forks to shred the chicken into bite-sized pieces. Don't throw away any of the juice from roasting - it's delicious and we'll add it to the soup at the end.
Now, while the croutons and chicken are working start to prep the ingredients for the soup. Cut the celery into little bits.
Then do the same with the carrots.
Mince the garlic, and slice the scallions - separate the whites and greens.
Now, in a soup pot, add a little bit of the melted butter and turn the heat to medium-high. Add the carrots, celery, garlic, and white parts of the scallions.
Reserve some of the celery and carrots for topping, set them aside with the scallion greens.
Let the veggies cook for about 7 minutes to start to soften, stirring often enough so the garlic doesn't burn.
Then, pour in the tomato sauce. I use tomato sauce in a lot of buffalo stuff because it adds the same tang as the hot sauce without any spice WHICH MEANS that you can get the spice to the level you like without having to add a ton of extra butter to tame the heat. It's healthier!
Add the chicken stock to the soup pot, then add as much buffalo sauce as you'd like. I start with 2 tablespoons, then add more once you add the chicken to the spiciness level you like.
So that's the soup base. Stir everything together, turn the heat down to low, cover the pot, and let the soup simmer for 15 minutes until the veggies are super tender.
Now the soup is simmering, the chicken is shredded, and the toppings are all ready! Veggies, croutons, extra blue cheese, and more hot sauce.
When the soup has simmered, add the chicken with any of the juices from the pan, and the rest of the melted butter. Stir the soup together and taste it! Add salt or more hot sauce - as much of either as you'd like!
Now, topping this stuff is the real fun part.
The extra veggies are so fresh and the blue cheese is so BLUE, and the croutons. The croutons are heavenly. They actually help mellow out the blue cheese since it's cooked and gets a little bit toasty, so I think it's a great way to eat blue cheese if you aren't a huge fan of it. If you hate blue sub parmesan, no worries.
Here's your Super Bowl plan! Chili is great and all, but THIS. This is it.
Buffalo Chicken Soup + Blue Cheese Croutons
- 1 pound boneless skinless chicken thighs
- 1 stick butter melted and divided
- 3 cups bread cubes any leftovers will work!
- salt and pepper
- ⅓ cup blue cheese crumbles plus extra for topping
- 3 ribs celery finely diced
- 1 carrot or 1 handful baby carrots finely diced
- 2 scallions sliced, whites and greens separated
- 3 cloves garlic minced
- 8 ounces tomato sauce
- 3 cups chicken broth
- 2 tablespoons hot sauce plus more to taste
- Preheat the oven to 400F. In 2 separate baking dishes, arrange the chicken in one even layer and the bread cubes in one even layer. Sprinkle both dishes with salt and pepper, and drizzle each with ⅓ of the melted butter. Sprinkle the blue cheese crumbles over the bread cubes.
- Place both roasting dishes in the oven. After 10 minutes, toss the croutons and return to the oven for 5 minutes more. When the croutons are golden, after about 15 minutes, remove from the oven. About 10 minutes after that, remove the chicken from the oven when cooked through. Use 2 forks to shred the chicken, saving any juices from the roasting pan.
- Meanwhile, make the soup base. Drizzle a little bit of the remaining butter into a medium soup pot and turn the heat to medium-high. Add most of the carrots and celery (reserving some for topping), the garlic, and the scallion whites. Stir the veggies for 7 minutes to soften, then add the tomato sauce, the stock, and the hot sauce. Stir the soup, then cover and reduce the heat to low. Simmer the soup for 15 minutes or until thickened slightly and the veggies have softened.
- Uncover the soup and increase the heat to medium-high. Add the chicken and any juices and the remaining melted butter. Taste the soup, and add salt and more hot sauce to your preference.
- When heated through, serve the soup with the croutons, reserved raw veggies, and extra blue cheese crumbles.