From Oonagh Williams of Royal Temptations Catering
- 1 large onion, peeled and finely chopped
- 5 slices of bacon, finely scissored (check the label for gluten-free)
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 4 large carrots, peeled and cut into small dice
- 4 cloves of garlic, peeled and finely crushed
- 1 1/2 - 2 lbs. of boneless, skinless chicken thighs. Take off excess fat, then cut chicken in half lengthwise and then cut into thin strips. Chicken breast becomes too dry and chewy.
- 2 tsp smoked paprika
- ¼ tsp of ground chipotle or about 1 tsp pureed canned chipotle or gluten-free hot sauce of your choice.
- 4 cups gluten-free chicken broth
- Pinch of fresh black pepper
- ¼ cup gluten-free cornstarch
- 1 cup 1% milk
- 1/2 cup half-and-half. For fewer calories, substitute fat-free half-and-half or use whole milk. Heavy cream is wonderful but adds a lot of calories.
- ¼ cup blue cheese crumbles* (Check the label to make sure it does not contain gluten. If you’re not a big fan of blue cheese, go light on this and give guests a bowl of crumbles so they can add to taste)
1. Put onion, bacon and oil in large pan, and gently cook until onion is soft and turning golden.
2. Add carrots and cook gently for about 5 more minutes.
3. Stir in chicken strips, smoked paprika and chipotle (or hot sauce). Stir well so chicken is covered in spice mix and let cook for about 5 minutes until chicken is seared on all sides.
4. Stir in garlic, chicken broth and freshly ground black pepper. Bring to a boil, then turn down to a simmer and cook covered for about 30 minutes until carrots and chicken thighs are tender.
5. Blend cornstarch with 1% milk, and add this mix to pan. Cook, stirring occasionally, until soup thickens. Then, let cook for about 3 more minutes to ensure cornstarch is cooked out with no raw flour taste left. Add half-and-half.
6. Taste soup and see if you want more pepper or hot pepper. You probably won’t need salt since the blue cheese will add sodium.
7. Add blue cheese, turn off heat and allow soup to stand for a few minutes. Then stir well to mix blue cheese throughout the soup.
8. Serve and enjoy.
Tips: Add more blue cheese as desired and use cream instead of milk and half-and-half for an amazing creamy taste, but beware – that also increases calories. Adjust the amount of heat to suit yourself and use whatever ground chili or bottled hot sauce you typically use that is gluten-free. Just remember: the hotter you make soup, the more people will drink at a party to cool down their mouths, so have plenty of water or milk to cool the flames!
I have also added small cubes of cooked Yukon gold or other firm potatoes to the soup. Don’t cook them from raw in the soup, as they will become too soft. I have also added leftover homemade creamed spinach to the soup for a tasty twist.
A final tip: Make this 1-2 days ahead of your party, then reheat and serve in slow cooker.
*Note: The mold for blue cheese is normally grown on wheat bread, so you have to check that the blue cheese available to you is gluten-free. As of December 2010, President brand cheeses in December 2010 do not use wheat, rye or barley, there is no gluten in the plant, and they use white distilled corn based vinegar. However, the company does not guarantee that their cheeses are gluten-free, nor do they test for gluten.