Easy Tailgate Treat: No-Cook Buffalo Chicken Dip
I’m writing this on the day of the first UGA home game of the season in football-crazed – and tailgate crazed – Athens GA. How I started making Buffalo Chicken Dip is a story, since until a year ago I never heard of it.
In the fall of last year, I was invited to cater the food for a ladies’ social group gathering. Their evening’s theme was “tailgating,” not one of my frequent pursuits. Grilling hot dogs and burgers plus plenty of PBR in the cooler at the rear end of the SUV or truck was the sum of my knowledge of that way of life. So I sought out ideas from our younger restaurant staff who were UGA students. “Buffalo Chicken Dip,” which I had never heard of, was their top advice. Thank heavens for Google, where I checked a number of recipes. I threw together something plausible, heated it, took it to the venue and put it a chafing dish. The reports the next day when I picked up the serving pans were very positive.
The original “Buffalo” chicken wings were a spur-of-the-moment creation from food items on hand at a tavern in Buffalo, New York, in 1964 by the Italian American tavern owner. But the story of why she created it varies. The ingredients she threw together were raw chicken wings that she deep fried, hot sauce mixed with melted butter to dip them in, and on the side celery sticks and blue cheese dressing from the salad bar. Frank’s RedHot claims to be the original hot sauce used.
Since Buffalo Chicken Dip, loosely based on Buffalo chicken wings, is a recent creation and many approaches exist (though most are served hot), I assumed artistic liberty. Today when I made mine, with sweltering heat outdoors, I prepared a cold rather than a hot, baked dip. I also intentionally kept its preparation simple, using supermarket ingredients in the quantities in which they’re sold. Tailgating features hearty over gourmet, and who needs to labor putting a dip together on game day?
The recipe makes about two quarts. That will feed a lot of tailgaters or party guests. Based on the ingredients, the dip should keep in the refrigerator for at least a few days.
Serve with corn chips for dipping, ideally with low salt so the dip-chip mouthful isn’t too salty.
1 pound cream cheese
4 ounces blue cheese, crumbled
16 ounces (1 pint) sour cream
3 tablespoons Frank’s RedHot sauce (or Louisiana hot sauce), plus more for serving
1 tablespoon vinegar
1-1/4 teaspoons salt
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 green onion, white and green parts
3-inch piece of celery stalk
1 rotisserie chicken, typical supermarket size
Place cream cheese, wrapping removed, in a large mixing bowl to warm and soften. With wooden spoon or firm spatula, mix cream cheese well till soft. Add crumbled blue cheese, sour cream, hot sauce, vinegar, salt and pepper.
On a large cutting board, using a chef’s knife, very finely mince together the green onion (roots and ragged tips of green parts removed) and the celery. Add this to the bowl.
Using rubber gloves, or well cleaned hands, remove the skin from the rotisserie chicken (save skin and bone to make broth for a different dish). Pick meat off the bones, and feel the meat well to detect any bits of bone or cartilage. With the chef’s knife and cutting board, chop the chicken very finely, part at a time. Add it to the bowl.
Mix thoroughly. After a few minutes’ rest, taste and if slightly under salted, mix in a little salt. Refrigerate until needed. (Keep cold in an insulated bag if going to the tailgating party on a hot day. Have the hot sauce bottle with the chicken mix, since you will need it for serving.)
To serve, place about half the dip in a shallow bowl. Sprinkle lightly to heavily with hot sauce, depending on the preferences of the group. Accompany with corn chips (low salt is better for this use) or other dipping items.