Buffalo Chicken Chowder w/ Bacon & Cheese Tortellini

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A Super Soup Bowl: Buffalo Chicken Chowder with Bacon & Cheese Tortellini
{with Gluten Free Option}

Last year, in celebration of the Super Bowl coming to Indianapolis, I felt compelled to create this especially wicked Buffalo Chicken Chowder with Bacon & Cheese Tortellini. Never one to shy away from a challenge, I threw my hat into the proverbial ring when it was announced at The Big Lug’s office that the team had decided to hold yet another cook off contest. We had all participated in a chili cook off prior. I actually lost that contest with an adaptation of Guy Fieri’s Dragon’s Breath Chili recipe. Of course, I had tamed down the heat just a tad. But, believe me, it was still a “Five Alarm” chili!

James was in charge of counting all the votes. The Big Lug had missed voting due to being in an important client meeting. And, as it happened, James won the contest with his white chicken chili recipe. (I think there could have been some shady business going on behind the wood pile there. But, I am not naming names.) As for me? Well, actually “me and Guy”, we landed in third place. The feedback was that my entry was a tad bit too hot. (LOL! I know, right? I mean, Guy’s recipe is rated 5 stars by over 350 reviewers at the FoodNetwork site. Alas, to each his own. Right?) So, I was quite up to the task with yet another entry with one strict caveat…that The Big Lug actually vote this time around for his wife’s entry!

There. It was decided. At the staff Christmas party, where I congratulated James on his win, and told him he whooped my behind (he literally did, too, and gave me a smack in the rear) in the staff chili contest, I had suggested a soup or stew cook off for the next go ‘round. Everyone in attendance at the staff Christmas party thought it was a swell idea and suddenly it was “game on”. Mwa-hahahahaha! In my dastardly evil competitive mind, I thought, “The boys won’t know what hit ‘em!” Yes, it was official. Game on indeed. In my evil mastermind, I kept singing along (in complete earworm fashion when I am never, ever tone deaf) with the lyrics from the 1980s song, “I Know What Boys Like” by the Waitresses:

I know what boys like
I know what guys want
I know what boys like
I’ve got what boys like
Na, na, nya, nya, nya…

Here is the YouTube link to the video for the uninitiated.

Then, I got to work in the kitchen developing this wicked brew stew of mine. Right away, I thought of doing a total collision of my best chicken homemade soup with kluski noodles (recipe forthcoming at some point), a truly outstanding creamy Cheddar cheese soup with bacon or ham and corn chowder. I thought to myself, “Of course. With the help of Frank’s® RedHot® Hot Sauce, this will become one badass Buffalo Chicken Chowder!”

For smoky flavor, there was just no doubt about it. I was not only going to add chopped fried bacon, but I was also going to call for some rendered bacon fat, along with butter, to sauté the vegetables. Check. Then, I just knew I had to replace the pasta from the kluski noodles in my chicken soup recipe. Aha! A light bulb went on. The Big Lug just adores cheese tortellini. (He loves any kind of dumpling, too—especially my authentic Hungarian dumplings of which even Chef Wolfgang Puck would like the recipe!) So what if adding cheese tortellini meant more cheese upon all the cheese (read: blue cheese crumbles in addition to Cheddar) and the cream I had already planned to add to this wicked concoction, right? After all, it was in honor of the Super Bowl coming to Indy in 2012 and it was for a hungry crew of men and I just happened to be competing in their cool contest. Right? Check, check. There would be plenty of color, too. I mean, otherwise, it would be a bit, well, too orange on the eyes. So into the recipe went finely chopped red, orange and yellow bell peppers for a festive “confetti” effect. And, there would be plenty (plenty!) of Frank’s® RedHot® Hot Sauce for that authentic Buffalo Chicken flavor and heat. I mean, munch on a carrot stick if it gets too hot, right? Just like with Buffalo Chicken Hot Wings. Check, check and check.

Buffalo Chicken Chowder with Bacon and Cheese Tortellini 3

As it turned out, my huge crock pot full of Buffalo Chicken Chowder with Bacon & Cheese Tortellini won over the hearts of all the boys. Even one of them, Ryan, offered to pay for the recipe! They loved the flavor profile, that it was hearty and they appreciated the fact that my soup/stew entry was “Buffalo Chicken-Style” and gave me high scores for creativity. Hey, I even won first place! (LOL.) Well, I do know this for sure, at least when it comes to food… “I know what boys like, I know what guys want. Na, na, nya, nya, nya!” 😉

To make Buffalo Chicken Chowder with Bacon & Cheese Tortellini gluten free, I like to use tapioca starch in place of all-purpose wheat flour. Tapioca works better than arrowroot starch with dairy, thus the reason why I am calling for it here in the gluten free version. (Arrowroot starch can make gravies and soups too glossy and slick.) To make a gluten free version, also substitute cheese tortellini with gluten free cheese tortellini (such as DePuma’s™) or homemade gluten free cheese tortellini.

What makes our original recipe for Buffalo Chicken Chowder with Bacon & Cheese Tortellini wicked good? It’s Buffalo Chicken. It’s chicken soup. It’s creamy cheese soup. It’s corn chowder. It’s rich, delicious and hearty (truly sticks to the ribs) with just the right amount of heat to resemble the same taste sensation as Buffalo Chicken Hot Wings…just the way you want it for the Super Bowl. It’s especially satisfying. Men love it. Throw in Super Bowl festivities, friends and family, and you have one wicked Super Soup Bowl!

Buffalo Chicken Chowder with Bacon & Cheese Tortellini

Yield: Makes about 10 servings.

Buffalo Chicken Chowder with Bacon & Cheese Tortellini

What makes our original recipe for Buffalo Chicken Chowder with Bacon & Cheese Tortellini wicked good? It’s Buffalo Chicken. It’s chicken soup. It’s creamy cheese soup. It’s corn chowder. It’s rich, delicious and hearty (truly sticks to the ribs) with just the right amount of heat to resemble the same taste sensation as Buffalo Chicken Hot Wings…just the way you want it for the Super Bowl. It's especially satisfying. Men love it. Throw in Super Bowl festivities, friends and family, and you have one wicked Super Soup Bowl!

Ingredients

  • For the Chowder
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2 tablespoons rendered bacon fat
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 3 celery stalks, finely chopped
  • 2 medium carrots, shredded
  • 2 small cloves garlic, minced
  • ¾ teaspoon celery salt
  • ¼ teaspoon ground white pepper
  • Coarse kosher salt, to taste
  • Coarse ground black pepper, to taste
  • 6 tablespoons all-purpose flour or 4½ tablespoons tapioca starch for Gluten Free Option
  • 2 (14.5 ounce) cans low-sodium chicken broth or stock
  • 4 cups cooked chicken breast, coarsely chopped & shredded (about 1 lb. chicken breast)
  • 3 cups half & half cream
  • 1¾ cup whole milk
  • 1½ cups Frank’s® RedHot® Hot Sauce, or to taste
  • 1 cup frozen whole kernel corn
  • 2 tablespoons canned green chilies, drained
  • 6 tablespoons (about 3 slices) chopped fried Applewood smoked bacon
  • 3½ cups (14 ounces) shredded sharp Cheddar cheese
  • 2 (9-ounce) packages cheese-filled tortellini, such as Buitoni®, cooked (undercook to only 5 minutes from package directions for al denté pasta) and drained
  • ¼ cup finely chopped red bell pepper
  • ¼ cup finely chopped orange bell pepper
  • ¼ cup finely chopped yellow bell pepper
  • For the Suggested Garnishes & Accompaniments
  • Dairy sour cream
  • Fresh cilantro, snipped
  • Fresh scallions, chopped
  • Blue Cheese, crumbled
  • Monterey Jack or Pepper-Jack cheese, grated
  • Carrot sticks
  • Celery sticks
  • Tortilla chips

Directions

Over medium-high heat, melt butter and rendered bacon fat in a large stockpot. Add onion and celery; sauté until almost tender. Add carrots, garlic and seasonings, sauté until vegetables are soft.

Sprinkle flour over vegetables and mix to evenly coat; stir for 2 minutes to lightly brown the flour to create the roux.

For Gluten Free Option: If using tapioca starch, in a small bowl whisk together tapioca starch and ½ cup of the chicken stock. Add tapioca starch slurry, stirring well until smooth and thick, after first pouring remaining chicken stock into stockpot over vegetables.

Add chicken stock; stir occasionally until heated through and mixture becomes smooth and thick, about 5 to 8 minutes. Add shredded chicken, cream and milk; stir frequently until a soft boil is reached.

Stir in Frank’s® RedHot® Hot Sauce, corn, green chilies, bacon and Cheddar cheese. Stir well until chowder is smooth and cheese is completely melted. Stir in tortellini and chopped bell peppers. Lower heat and simmer until heated through, about 8 to 10 minutes.

Ladle into bowls or crocks and garnish with sour cream, cilantro, scallions, Blue Cheese or Monterey Jack cheese. Serve with carrot and celery sticks as well as tortilla chips.

Recipe Notes

For Gluten Free Option:

To make Buffalo Chicken Chowder with Bacon & Cheese Tortellini gluten free, use tapioca starch in place of all-purpose wheat flour as a thickener. Tapioca works better than arrowroot starch with dairy, thus the reason why I am calling for it here in the gluten free version. (Arrowroot starch can make gravies and soups too glossy and slick.) To make a gluten free version, also substitute cheese tortellini with gluten free cheese tortellini (such as DePuma’s™) or homemade gluten free cheese tortellini.

Once again, if using tapioca starch, in a small bowl whisk together tapioca starch and ½ cup of the chicken stock. Add tapioca starch slurry, stirring well until smooth and thick, after first pouring remaining chicken stock into stockpot over vegetables.

Tip: Don't forget to skip the Blue Cheese if going gluten free as gluten lurks in blue cheeses.

http://wickedgoodkitchen.com/buffalo-chicken-chowder-with-bacon-cheese-tortellini/

spatsign

About Stacy

Stacy Bryce is a recipe developer and member of the IACP (International Association of Culinary Professionals). Her passion is developing original conventional baking recipes as well as special diet recipes to include dairy-free, gluten-free and grain-free. You can follow Stacy at Pinterest.

Comments

  1. I love buffalo anything, but never have I thought to turn it into a soup. Great idea, Stacy!

    • Thank you, m’dear! You will LOVE it and never know it was gluten free. The tapioca starch works extremely well in this wicked recipe. WOOT! xo

  2. That… is a bowl of heaven!

Trackbacks

  1. […] to share for the new NFL football season. The original post was published on January 30, 2013 here in celebration of the Super Bowl. For this post, the images were reworked for better […]

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