Buffalo Chicken Dip: My Own Take
When my entry on my Spicy Quesofrijole Dip recipe was featured on the main page of IreallyLikeFood not too long ago, one of the commenters was Ali Conklin. She asked if I had seen the entry she posted with a recipe for Buffalo Chicken Dip, and very thoughtfully left a link to the entry in question. Here it is, for your own reference:
As a matter of fact, I had seen the entry, and I was seriously contemplating making the dip. The only reason I didn’t make it right away when I first saw it was that I didn’t have all of the ingredients at home. In fact, I was missing two major ingredients in particular.
The first of these was the ranch dressing. Now, I am not a salad dressing person. If I eat a salad, I don’t put any kind of dressing on it. No Italian, no thousand island, no bleu cheese, no ranch. I want to taste the vegetables, not some goop glopped all over them. But I happened to be walking through a local supermarket on a week when they had their store brand salad dressings on sale. I looked over the available varieties, and I decided to try a bottle of both the Three-Cheese Ranch and the Bacon Ranch dressings. (If you haven’t noticed it yet, I like to experiment just a little.)
The other ingredient I didn’t have was the chicken. I had a pretty good idea that a rotisserie chicken would more than likely yield far more chicken than is called for in the recipe. And since I’m single, live alone, and for the most part eat alone, I wasn’t sure if I would be able to eat all of the remaining chicken before it went bad. But on another supermarket trip, I found myself contemplating a 12.5-ounce can of chicken breast meat. I did a little calculating, and concluded that this would be just the right amount of chicken needed for the dip, and so I acquired the final ingredient needed for the dip.
I have a Corning Ware dish that is, as Goldilocks would say, just the right size for the dip. I decided to mix everything in that, and reduce the amount of dirty dishes produced. (Always something to consider when cooking.) I put the two packages of cream cheese in the dish, and softened the cheese in the microwave at 30-second intervals. After about two minutes, the cheese was soft enough to beat until smooth. I added a couple of dollops of sour cream, because I tend to think it gives the cream cheese a slightly smoother consistency.
As I recall, the first bottle I saw on the shelf was that of the Three-Cheese Ranch dressing, so that was the one I used this time. I poured out a cup of the stuff, then poured it into the dish with the cream cheese, and stirred until it looked like everything was well blended.
Here is where I have the greatest deviation from Ali’s recipe. The recipe called for a half cup of hot sauce. Now, I like things spicy. I even like a little bit of heat. But I also like having fully functional tastebuds after eating something spicy, and that half cup sounded like just a little too much to me. In fact, it sounded as though it would leave my tastebuds whimpering in pain, and that was the last thing I wanted. I mean, have you ever heard whimpering tastebuds? Trust me, it isn’t a pleasant sound.
Instead of a half cup, I decided to start with a quarter cup of hot sauce. I could always add more if I thought it needed more spice. If I used the half cup and it was too much, there wouldn’t be a whole lot I could do about it.
Ali told me that I should just use the cheapest hot sauce I could find, but for me, hot sauce means only one brand — Tabasco. I actually used a blend of three Tabasco sauces; the original sauce, the jalapeno sauce (the green variety), and the chipotle sauce. I poured more or less equal amounts in to a 1/4 cup measuring cup, then poured that into the dish. I stirred well, then gave it a taste. Oh yeah, I was right to use only a quarter cup. Maybe it does take a half cup of the cheap stuff to get the right amount of spice, but if you’re using Tabasco, you don’t need as much.
The recipe called for 1/3 cup of shredded cheddar cheese mixed in with the dip, but I think I used closer to 1/2 cup of cheese. Plus, I threw in a little bit of shredded mozzarella as well. (Again, if you haven’t noticed it yet, I kind of like cheese.)
I opened the can of chicken, and I drained most of the liquid. (I may keep some of the liquid the next time I make this, and see if it adds a little flavor.) Inside, the chicken was in chunks, so one by one, I took the chunks, and rubbed them between my fingers to turn them into shreds of chicken. Once I had all the chunks of chicken reduced to shreds, I gave everything a final stir to make certain that everything was thoroughly blended.
I gave the dip a taste, and I could see why Ali called this an addiction. I could have easily devoured the entire dish right then and there, and I wasn’t finished yet. Fortunately, the self-control kicked in, and I stopped before I could decimate the dip. I smoothed the top of the dip, added a good layer of cheese, then put the dish into the oven for a few minutes. Once it looked like everything was nice and melty, I took it out.
I didn’t have any chips; I was using crackers instead. As was the case a few minutes earlier, I could have easily scarfed down the entire dish — and probably given myself a case of indigestion in the process. I managed to exercise a little bit of self-control, and the dip lasted for about three or four days before I finally finished it off.
During that time, I tried the dip on some other stuff besides the crackers. I toasted a couple of slices of bread, and spread some of the dip between them. It makes an interesting sandwich spread. I’ll bet it would taste pretty good with celery sticks as well; that will have to be something to try the next time I make this dip.