The idea for this soup came from a restaurant I ate at in Maine over the summer. Their appetizer menu included a creamy buffalo chicken soup that I couldn’t say no to. Even though I’m pretty certain they cheaped out and used canned chicken, the soup still had a really great flavor.
I wanted to re-create this soup, but try to lighten in up. I was recently reading about substitutes for cream in cooking and learned about evaporated milk. For those of you who don’t know, evaporated milk is real milk in which about 60% of the water has been removed. It has a similar consistency to heavy cream, but will save you more than half the fat and calories. It works wonderfully as a substitute in soups, sauces, and even desserts calling for cream. It comes canned so there is some processing involved, but all in all is a great option if you’re looking to cut calories.
This soup is creamy, hearty, and lightly spiced with Frank’s RedHot. It comes together in under 40 minutes and makes a great weeknight meal or appetizer. It’s perfect for chilly fall weather, or when you just need some simple comfort food. It tastes delicious served with shredded cheese and a dollop of plain yogurt or sour cream. With a satisfying flavor like buffalo chicken, it’s hard to go wrong!
Buffalo Chicken Soup
makes 4 large or 6 small servings
- 1 Tbsp olive oil
- 1/2 yellow onion, diced
- 3 carrots, diced
- 4 stalks celery, diced
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 cooked chicken breasts, shredded
- 2 tsp Ranch seasoning (I used part of a Hidden Valley packet)
- 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper and/or red pepper flakes
- 1 quart low-sodium chicken stock
- 1/2 cup Frank’s RedHot cayenne pepper sauce, or other hot sauce of choice
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 14-oz can evaporated milk
- 1/4 cup cornstarch
- salt and pepper, to taste
- optional toppings: shredded cheddar cheese or bleu cheese, plain yogurt, diced green onions
- In a 3-4 quart cooking pot, heat 1 Tbsp olive oil over medium-low heat. Add diced onion and carrots and saute for 10 minutes, or until softened slightly.
- Add diced celery and garlic and continue cooking for another 10 minutes, stirring every so often.
- Add cooked shredded chicken, Ranch seasoning, and cayenne pepper. Stir and cook for about 1 minute, or until spices become fragrant.
- Pour in chicken stock, hot sauce, and bay leaf. Bring to a boil, and then lower heat and let the soup simmer while preparing step 5.
- In a small mixing bowl, combine evaporated milk and cornstarch. Stir and let it sit for a few minutes, until the cornstarch has dissolved and no lumps remain.
- Pour milk and cornstarch mixture into soup and stir. Return the soup to a low simmer and cook for another 5-10 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste, and serve with optional cheese, yogurt, and green onions.