Ahh, chowder season. I’m in love, and not just because I love chowder.
I can barely control my feet as they do a little happy dance every time they snuggle into my wool socks.
(Speaking of chowder season, if you’re a pumpkin spice fan, have you had your first pumpkin spice coffee of the season yet? I’m holding out for my birthday (at the end of this month), but I can’t wait.)
Back to chowder though.
I made this soup for the first time last winter; then it made it’s way to our table again last weekend when we had guests coming over for a casual dinner. We started the meal with a fall-inspired salad…sliced pear, crumbled blue cheese, and pecans with homemade cranberry-apple vinaigrette on a bed of mixed field greens. This soup was our main dish, along with some crusty bread. Pumpkin custard and hot coffee rounded out the evening perfectly.
If you like Buffalo chicken, you’ll love the kick of spice in this chowder that’s balanced by the creamy broth and blue cheese garnish. I added carrot and celery, which I always munch on along with Buffalo wings so you get the full Buffalo experience, but in the form of a comforting bowl of soup instead of as finger food.
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 1 tablespoon light olive oil
- 1 medium onion, finely diced
- 2 large ribs celery (including leafy green tops), finely diced
- 2 medium carrots, scrubbed and shredded
- 2 large cloves garlic, minced
- 1 bay leaf
- ⅓ cup all-purpose flour
- 2 cups low-sodium chicken or vegetable stock
- 2 cups reduced-fat milk
- 2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
- 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
- ¼-1/2 cup hot sauce, like Frank’s RedHot (more or less to taste)
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ⅛ teaspoon black pepper
- 6 oz sharp cheddar, shredded
- 2 cups cooked, cubed chicken breast (or rotisserie chicken)
- 3 tablespoons crumbled blue cheese (for garnish)
- 2 scallions, white and green parts, thinly sliced (for garnish)
- In a 3-quart pot, heat the butter and oil over medium heat; add the onion and celery and sauté until the veggies are softened but not browned, about 5 to 7 minutes. Add the shredded carrot, garlic, and bay leaf, and sauté until the carrot starts to soften and the garlic is fragrant, about 1 to 2 minutes.
- Stir in the flour and cook 2 minutes, then gradually whisk in the chicken stock, milk, Worcestershire, Dijon, hot sauce, salt, and pepper. Stirring frequently, bring the soup up to a boil over medium heat, then turn heat down and simmer 10 minutes. Turn the heat off and whisk in the cheese, and then stir in the chicken. Taste and season with additional salt, pepper, and hot sauce as desired.
- Serve with blue cheese and scallion sprinkled on top, with additional hot sauce if desired.