Thursday, January 20, 2011

Buffalo Chicken Nachos


Two of the most popular game day snacks are Buffalo wings and nachos.  At least that's my educated guess.  I don't watch a whole lot of sports outside of the Olympics, but I do support all the Boston/New England teams when I can (and usually if snacks and beer are involved).  Since the Patriots were eliminated from the playoffs (don't remind me!), I can honestly tell you that I will not be watching the conference championships or the Superbowl.  I don't care enough about the commercials to waste half my day watching something when I have no interest in the outcome.  I do realize that many of you will be watching these games, or simply enjoy Buffalo chicken and nachos and want to spice up your repertoire with something new.  I introduce to you these Buffalo chicken nachos!  I made them last weekend to enjoy while watching the Pats game, but that soon turned into channel surfing to avoid actually watching the game.  It was a doozy for Pats fans :(


These nachos were easily the highlight of the day!  The words "best nachos ever" floated around the room several times.  Imagine this... crisp, warm tortilla chips, some infused with spicy Buffalo sauce... tender, spicy Buffalo chicken... crisp, clean celery... gooey, bubbly sharp cheddar cheese... tangy, robust blue cheese bits... all in one bite.  If there is a snack food Heaven, these nachos are in it.  And when football season is inevitably over, break out this recipe for other sporting events, poker night, movie night, PMS, whatever occasion gets you craving some unhealthy and delicious sustenance.  We all have those days :)


Buffalo Chicken Nachos
Serves 4 to 6 as an entrée, 8 to 12 as an appetizer

1 cup hot sauce (such as Frank's Red Hot)
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter
4 cups cooked, shredded chicken (from 2 large breasts)
12 oz tortilla chips
2 stalks celery, trimmed and sliced
8 to 10 oz sharp white cheddar cheese, shredded (2 to 2 1/2 cups)
1/2 cup crumbled blue cheese

Place a rack in the top third of the oven and preheat the oven to 475 degrees F. Line a half sheet pan (13-by-17 1/2-inches) with foil for easy cleanup, if desired. In a saucepan over medium heat, combine the hot sauce and butter. Heat and stir until the butter emulsifies into the hot sauce and the mixture heats through, about 3 to 5 minutes. Add the shredded chicken and stir to coat with the sauce and heat the chicken through, another 5 minutes. Remove the chicken from the sauce with a slotted spoon and reserve the chicken and Buffalo sauce separately.

Arrange the tortilla chips in the sheet pan and top with the shredded Buffalo chicken. Add the sliced celery, shredded cheddar, and crumbled blue cheese, making sure to distribute the toppings evenly over the chips, and even tuck some of the toppings in between the chips so the chips on the bottom aren't completely "naked." Drizzle the reserved Buffalo sauce over the top of the nachos. It will infuse more flavor into the cheese and soak into some of the chips.


Bake in the top third of the oven for 5 to 7 minutes until the the nachos are hot and the cheese is bubbly. Serve immediately with a cold beer and plenty of napkins!


PS Check out this Buffalo chicken pizza for yet another great Buffalo chicken recipe :)

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