Big Game Eats: Buffalo Chicken Dip

By: Nealey Dozier

There are certain times of year that require what I lovingly refer to as "man food." During football season, anything that includes cream cheese, mayonnaise, or sour cream (or all of the above!) are staples on my entertaining roster. No, they aren't gourmet, and they sure as heck aren't good for you, but I've never seen a bite left over. Let's just say they are good for the soul.

Buffalo chicken dip is one of the most famous of the "man dips." I've made a number of variations of it over the years, and this is the version I find to be just right. I've never had the courage to use canned chicken, so I prefer to shred moist and tender chicken thighs for my recipe. I use a mix of cheddar and pepper jack for sharpness and heat. I also use powdered ranch dressing instead of bottled, it's a personal preference I've developed over the years.

This buffalo chicken dip is guaranteed to please even the most discriminating of eaters. You'll even be surprised how many food snobs keep coming back for more. Sometimes, it's all about the "high-low". And sometimes, it's just about the "low."

Buffalo Chicken Dip

Active time: 15 minutes
Total time: 1 hour thirty minutes, including cooking times

Yields: 3 1/2 cups
chicken thighs
2 - 2 1/2 pounds bone-in, skinless chicken thighs
1 onion, peeled and quartered
2 stalks celery, quartered
buffalo dip

2 cups cooked, shredded chicken (cooked thighs or from a rotisserie chicken)

1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese, softened
4 ounces sharp cheddar cheese, grated
4 ounces pepper jack cheese, grated
1 (1 ounce) packet ranch dressing powder
1/2 cup hot sauce, preferably Frank's original

For the chicken:

In a large pot, add chicken, onions, and celery and enough water to cover. Bring to a boil, and reduce heat to a gentle simmer. Skim off any foam, as necessary. Cook until meat is tender, about 30-45 minutes. Remove thighs from the liquid and cool until able to touch. Shred chicken, discarding bones for another use (I add it back to the liquid to make stock), and set aside.

For the dip:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Add the cooked chicken, cream cheese, shredded cheeses, ranch dressing powder, and hot sauce in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the beater blade (this can also be done by hand) and mix on low until combined. Spread into a medium baking dish and cook until warm and bubbly, about 25 - 30 minutes. Serve with Fritos and celery sticks.

More Game Day Eats From Nealey Dozier:

Nealey moved from Alabama to the West Coast to follow her dreams, only to realize once there how much she missed good ol’ country cooking.  So she took to the kitchen and began re-creating the dishes of her past, but this time without any help from a can. What started out as a hobby turned into an obsession, so she quit her day job to pursue cooking, and eating, fulltime. Dixie Caviar is where you can follow her pursuits of all things Southern.

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