Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Buffalo Chicken Wrap

A staple of most bars and other fine drinking establishments, the ubiquitous buffalo wing appetizer basket is as common as dollar beers during happy hour. Featuring deep fried chicken wing drummettes that are seasoned with a hot sauce and butter concoction, it is traditionally served with raw celery and carrot sticks and a blue cheese dipping sauce. As the name reveals, buffalo-style chicken first originated from Buffalo, New York. There are several versions of how it was created but everyone agreed on the fact that it first appeared at the Anchor Bar back in 1964. While the original is made from chicken wings, there are other variants made with shrimp or chicken breast cutlets but all with the same sauce.

Speaking of the sauce, it's as easy as buying a bottle of hot sauce (preferably Frank's), some vinegar (if the hot sauce is not already laden with it) and butter and mixing them all together. However, if you want to get fancy, then you can certainly make the taste of the sauce more intricate by adding honey, cayenne pepper, smoked paprika, lime/lemon juice, onions and garlic. As you can see, the sauce can be as complicated as you want it to be. But the base should be the 3 ingredients I mentioned earlier. Everything else is just extra gravy for taste. If you are adding onions and garlic, do saute them first.

As for the poultry, the traditionalist would do chicken wings, which usually comes in 3 connected pieces of meat. Cut the tip off and discard (or save it later for making chicken stock) and separate the other 2 drummette pieces as well with a cleaver. Prepare some egg wash and flour and get ready to deep fry. You can choose to season the flour but I think that the sauce is pretty intense and salty enough that you don't need extra seasoning in your flour. Egg wash first and the flour and right into your pot of hot oil. Fry for about 5 minutes or so or until it starts to turn slightly brown. Remove the drummettes at this time because it will continue to cook as it sits on a paper towel-lined plate.

If you are making buffalo chicken for a wrap, a drummette with bones will definitely not do. So for this particular application, I used chicken breast cutlets, cut into thin and small pieces. and perform the same process with the egg wash and flour. Now it is just a matter of tossing the fried chicken with the sauce that you prepared earlier. I would use a deep dish mixing bowl big enough to hold all the chicken and the sauce.

As for the dipping sauce, I mixed equal parts sour cream and mayonnaise together with crumbled Gorgonzola blue cheese and a touch of white wine vinegar and lemon juice. To assemble the wrap (I used sun-dried tomato wraps), warm them up first. Spread the blue cheese sauce on half of the wrap, add lettuce, small diced celery and tomatoes and the buffalo chicken breasts.

As my daughters are still quite averse to spicy food, I also prepared some honey BBQ wings for them, together with the buffalo wings. The sauce is as simple as taking off the shelf smoked BBQ sauce and adding honey to it.

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