Buffalo-Chicken Macaroni and Cheese

16 Feb

Today’s recipe comes from Food Network.com, though in the interest of full disclosure, I originally learned about it from Rainy Day Gal, who linked to the original Food Network recipe on her blog post.

After looking desperately for another food that could be considered “Ann Arbor” themed, I gave up and went to the reservoirs of my StumbleUpon likes. After narrowing my options down to three delectable-looking dishes, I chose one that is certainly the least-healthy thing I’ve made in all my time being Chef JAJ. You don’t need to look any further than the pound and a half of cheese that this recipe uses to know that it’s not for the Weight Watchers among us. But I absolutely love buffalo chicken, and the thought of it mixed in with some macaroni and cheese was enticing enough for me to eschew long-term health concerns for short-term hedonism.

A note for this recipe: I currently don’t possess a 9×13″ baking pan, and while I’ve made due in the past without one, this was the recipe that bucked the limits of the casserole dish I’ve been using. I couldn’t even use all of the cheese sauce that I had – though I saved the excess reserves to use as dip or something, because it was the greatest-tasting cheese concoction I’ve ever had. Just make sure you have the proper cookware before you begin this massive recipe.

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Ingredients

  • 7 tablespoons unsalted butter, plus more for the dish
  • 1 pound elbow macaroni, cooked according to package
  • 1 small onion, finely chopped
  • 2 stalks celery, finely chopped
  • 3 cups shredded rotisserie chicken
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • ¾ cup hot sauce (preferably Frank’s)
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons dry mustard
  • 2 ½ cups half-and-half
  • 1 pound yellow sharp cheddar cheese, cut into 1-inch cubes (about 3 ½ cups)
  • 8 ounces shredded pepper jack cheese (about 2 cups)
  • ⅔ cup sour cream
  • 1 cup panko (Japanese breadcrumbs)
  • ½ cup crumbled blue cheese
  • 2 tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped
Buffalo Chicken Mac and Cheese 01

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees; butter a 9-by-13-inch baking dish.
  2. Melt 3 tablespoons of butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the onion and celery, and cook until soft, about 5 minutes.
    Buffalo Chicken Mac and Cheese 02
  3. Stir in the chicken and garlic and cook 2 minutes, then add ½ cup of the hot sauce and simmer until slightly thickened, about 1 more minute.
    Buffalo Chicken Mac and Cheese 03
  4. Melt 2 tablespoons of butter in a saucepan over medium heat. Stir in the flour and mustard with a wooden spoon until smooth.
  5. Whisk in the half-and-half, then add the remaining ¼ hot sauce and stir until thick, about 2 minutes.
    Buffalo Chicken Mac and Cheese 04
  6. Whisk in the cheddar and pepper jack cheeses, then whisk in the sour cream until smooth.
    Buffalo Chicken Mac and Cheese 05
  7. Spread half of the macaroni in the prepared baking dish, then top with the chicken mixture and the remaining macaroni. Pour the cheese sauce evenly on top.
    Buffalo Chicken Mac and Cheese 06
  8. Put the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter in a medium microwave-safe bowl and microwave until melted. Stir in the panko, blue cheese, and parsley.Buffalo Chicken Mac and Cheese 07
  9. Sprinkle the panko mix over the macaroni.
  10. Bake until bubbly, about 30 to 40 minutes. Let rest 10 minutes before serving.
    Buffalo Chicken Mac and Cheese 08
Makes 6 to 8 servings. For real, though. It makes a LOT of food.

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This buffalo-chicken mac and cheese is bankrupting, both financially and calorically (and, perhaps, morally). The rotisserie chicken and cartload of cheese is gonna impact your wallet if you’re a struggling post-grad like myself, but you can take some comfort knowing that the final yield could feed a small army, no problem. That being said, you’ll probably want to half the recipe if you’re cooking for any group numbering less than the membership of The Polyphonic Spree.

If you like buffalo chicken and cheese cheese cheese, you’re gonna love this dish. I really liked the way that boring old mac and cheese was supplemented by the shredded chicken and the bits of crunchy celery in there. Like I said before, if you’re concerned about your arteries, you should probably run for the hills, but if you’re willing to forgo your dietary sensibilities for a single meal, this is definitely one worth experiencing.

Buffalo Chicken Mac and Cheese 09

Buffalo Chicken Mac and Cheese 10

Buffalo Chicken Mac and Cheese 11

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One Response to “Buffalo-Chicken Macaroni and Cheese”

  1. Part Time House Wife 2012/02/16 at 1:55 pm #

    two of my faves… this one is for sure on the list of recipes to try. thanks for sharing

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