Buffalo Chicken Tacos with Blue Cheese Celery Pico

Buffalo Chicken Taco
Buffalo sauce and blue cheese always make me think of football season. Maybe because this combination, for me, is rooted in the Superbowl array of gastronomical craziness or the fact that I see buffalo wings as “dude food” and one of my husband’s favorite flavor combinations. Whatever the reason, buffalo chicken and blue cheese is pretty darn delicious and these tacos make a more dinner-friendly version than the messy buffalo wing, fifteen-napkins-needed standard. (Guess who is Type A in our relationship?)

These tacos are AMAZING. Frying strips of boneless chicken thighs makes for extra tender pieces. We tossed the fried chicken in our standard tangy buffalo sauce, then topped them with some crunchy blue cheese celery pico and blue cheese sour cream. We did a non-buffalo version for our little girl and it was still delicious! I highly recommend this recipe for the fall season of football game get-togethers!

Buffalo Chicken Tacos buffalo chicken tacos with blue cheese cream and pico Fried Chicken Taco with Pico

Buffalo Chicken Strips We used this exact recipe, but we used boneless chicken thighs and cut them into strips before marinating and breading. I’ll post the recipe below in case you don’t want to click 🙂

  • 2 tablespoons paprika
  • 2 tablespoons freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 teaspoons garlic powder
  • 2 teaspoons dried oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1 large egg
  • Kosher salt
  • 3 1/2 pounds bone-in, skin-on breasts, legs, drumsticks, and/or wings (We used boneless thighs cut into strips here)
  • 1 1⁄2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1⁄2 cup cornstarch
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 4 cups vegetable shortening or peanut oil

    Combine the paprika, black pepper, garlic powder, oregano, and cayenne in a small bowl and mix thoroughly with a fork.

    Whisk the buttermilk, egg, 1 tablespoon salt, and 2 tablespoons of the spice mixture in a large bowl. Add the chicken pieces and toss and turn to coat. Transfer the contents of the bowl to a gallon-sized zipper-lock freezer bag and refrigerate for at least 4 hours, and up to overnight, flipping the bag occasionally to redistribute the contents and coat the chicken evenly.

    Whisk together the flour, cornstarch, baking powder, 2 teaspoons salt, and the remaining spice mixture in a large bowl. Add 3 tablespoons of the marinade from the zipper-lock bag and work it into the flour with your fingertips. Remove one piece of chicken from the bag, allowing excess buttermilk to drip off, drop the chicken into the flour mixture, and toss to coat. Continue adding chicken pieces to the flour mixture one at a time until they are all in the bowl. Toss the chicken until every piece is thoroughly coated, pressing with your hands to get the flour to adhere in a thick layer.

    Adjust an oven rack to the middle position and preheat the oven to 350°F. Heat the shortening or oil to 425°F in a 12-inch straight-sided cast-iron chicken fryer or a large wok over medium-high heat. Adjust the heat as necessary to maintain the temperature, being careful not to let the fat get any hotter.

    One piece at a time, transfer the coated chicken to a fine-mesh strainer and shake to remove excess flour. Transfer to a wire rack set on a rimmed baking sheet. Once all the chicken pieces are coated, place skin side down in the pan. The temperature should drop to 300°F; adjust the heat to maintain the temperature at 300°F for the duration of the cooking. Fry the chicken until it’s a deep golden brown on the first side, about 6 minutes; do not move the chicken or start checking for doneness until it has fried for at least 3 minutes, or you may knock off the coating. Care- fully flip the chicken pieces with tongs and cook until the second side is golden brown, about 4 minutes longer.

    Transfer the chicken to a clean wire rack set on a rimmed baking sheet and place in the oven. Cook until an instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the breast registers 150°F and the legs register 165°F, 5 to 10 minutes; remove the chicken pieces to a second rack or a paper-towel-lined plate as they reach their final temperature. Season with salt and serve—or, for extra-crunchy fried chicken, go to step

    Place the plate of cooked chicken in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour, and up to overnight. When ready to serve, reheat the oil to 400°F. Add the chicken pieces and cook, flipping them once halfway through cooking, until completely crisp, about 5 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack set on a rimmed baking sheet to drain, then serve immediately.

    *taken from Serious Eats

For the Celery Pico:

2 stalks celery, sliced
1 jalapeno, diced
1/4 cup diced tomato
1/4 diced white onion
1/2 cup blue cheese crumbles
squeeze of lime
pinch or two of celery salt
salt and pepper to taste

Combine all these things and adjust seasoning to taste!

For the Buffalo Sauce:
One bottle of Frank’s Red Hot
1 stick of butter
Salt to taste
1 tsp worchestershire sauce
1/2 tsp garlic powder

Combine the hot sauce and butter in a sauce pan and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and adjust seasoning to taste.

Blue Cheese Sour Cream

Kinda self explanatory. Just take a half cup of sour cream and add in 1/2 cup blue cheese dressing and 1/4 cup fresh blue cheese crumbles. Adjust to taste with salt and pepper and lemon juice.

 

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Roasted Green Chile and Caramelized Onion Dip

Green Chili and Caramelized Onion Dip
Here in the West Texas/Eastern New Mexico region, we have a summertime tradition.  We wait all year for it and when the weekend comes, we can smell it in the air.  On every supermarket corner, there they are: green chiles, rotating in a huge, iron roaster over a fire, filling the air with the sweet and savory charred smell of heaven on earth.  A couple weekends ago, it was Chile Roasting Day.  It only happens for a couple weekends at the end of the summer or the beginning of the fall season, so there’s a sense of urgency to buy as many bags as we can before they’re gone.  There’s just one problem: letting them go to waste (they’ll mold within a couple weeks in your fridge) or freezing them, which takes away some of their magic, if you ask me.

So this year, we bought two bags like this:
bag of roasted green chilies
…and we promised we wouldn’t let them go to waste OR freeze them.  Maybe we should store up for winter, but there’s something pretty special about waiting all year for something.  Like a summer tomato.  It’s worth the wait and any other time of the year, it just isn’t the same. (blog post coming soon…)

So all week, I’m going to be posting green chile recipes!  If you happen to live in this region, go stock up because I fear this weekend will be the last.  If you don’t live in this region, I’m sorry.  It’s really the only thing we have on you because we have to deal with dirt storms for a third of our year and 100 degree heat for another third.  Let us revel in this, our only leg up on the competition.  (mostly kidding – I’d send you a bag, but I don’t want to freeze them). 🙂

Today your recipe is a roasted green chile dip with caramelized onions.  I posted about a caramelized onion dip last summer and I thought it would be the perfect base for adding some green chile magic.  So here you go, my friends.  Enjoy the first green chile recipe of the best week of the summer.

Roasted Green Chili Dip
Roasted Green Chile and Caramelized Onion Dip

makes about two cups

1/4 cup vegetable oil
3 TBS unsalted butter
2 large, yellow onions, sliced thin
8 oz cream cheese
1/2 cup sour cream
1/2 cup mayo
7-10 roasted, mild green chiles, seeded or not, it’s up to you.
1 TBS red wine vinegar
kosher salt to taste – I used about 2 teaspoons

In a large, deep sided skillet, add the oil and butter over medium-medium high heat until the butter starts to bubble.  Add the sliced onions and spread out into one layer and let them sizzle for about 5 minutes until they start to color.  Stir them around and repeat this process, not stirring too much to let them caramelize.  This process takes about 30 minutes and you want to err on the side of too caramelized than not enough.  Mine looked like this:
Caramelized Onions
Meanwhile, in a food processor, add the cream cheese, sour cream, mayo and vinegar and a teaspoon of salt.  Pulse until blended.  When the onions are done, scoop them into the food processor and add the green chiles.  I added just three at first, two seeded and peeled, and one whole, minus the stem.  It wasn’t enough green chile flavor for me, so I just kept adding them.  There are LOTS of amazing flavors in the roasted skins and since you are blending them up, it’s completely recommended to not peel the skins from your chiles when you add them.  So!  Add a few, pulse, and see how you like it.  Add some salt, pulse some more.  Add a few more chiles.  Really, it’s up to your taste and what you like.  We ended up adding 7 green chiles, 3 peeled and seeded and 4 whole (minus stem).  It was a perfect heat level for us AND we were using mild chiles, so obviously, with the hot variety, you might want to seed all of them.  I bought mild because I wanted LOTS AND LOTS of flavor without killer heat.  This is a fun game of taste testing, so have some chips ready.  Enjoy!