Sounds really strange, I know. But trust me, it works.
My love of buffalo chicken has led me to try many variations of it: buffalo chicken pizza, buffalo chicken dip, buffalo chicken burgers, buffalo chicken mac & cheese, buffalo chicken nachos, buffalo chicken wraps, wings, salads. I’m sure there are more.
But still, when Nick’s cousin Mel (Andi’s mom) sent me a recipe for buffalo chicken risotto… I was a little skeptical. Greasy bar food and upscale Italian cuisine don’t seem to jibe too well in my mind. But since I’m so in love, I decided to give it a try. Considering the ingredient list included meat, hot sauce, beer, and minimal vegetables… I figured Nick would be game. He was.
Risotto should typically be made with Arborio rice. Unsurprisingly, Enid does not have Arborio rice. I really had a lot of hope for the Commisary here, too… they have tons of weird, obscure international foods. Apparently the Italians are not high on the priority list though. So I decided to use regular rice. It would definitely be BETTER, creamier, and more risotto-y with Arborio, but regular works in a pinch.
Mel breaded and pan fried the chicken when she made this, which sounds awesome and would have made this even better. But it was a weeknight and I was tired and lazy, and poaching and shredding it sounded a whole lot easier and less messy. So I went that route, but you could really use any kind of cooked chicken. Nick would have loved this with chopped up frozen chicken patties… gag.
Buffalo Chicken Risotto
- 4 cups low sodium chicken broth
- 3/4 cup Frank’s RedHot sauce
- 2 tbsp honey
- 1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
- 1/2 cup celery, minced (plus more for serving)
- 1/2 cup onion, minced
- 2 tbsp butter
- 1 cup Arborio rice
- 1 cup lager beer (I used Corona– all we had besides homebrews!)
- 2 cups cooked chicken (chopped, cubed or shredded)
- crumbled blue cheese, for serving
- blue cheese dressing, for serving
In a medium saucepan, mix together the broth, hot sauce, honey and Worcestershire. Bring to a simmer, turn off heat and cover.
Melt the butter in a large saute pan over medium heat.
Add the onions and celery and sweat until slightly softened, about 5 minutes.
Stir in rice and saute until coated with butter.
Deglaze the pan with the beer and stir until absorbed, about 1 minute.
Add the hot sauce mixture to the rice mixture one half cup at a time. Stir until liquid is absorbed. Stir frequently. Continue until all of the broth mixture is used up, about 30 minutes.
(SIDE NOTE: When I had about 1/2 a cup of sauce left to stir in, I tasted the risotto. It tasted a bit too salty and spicy, so I panicked and used an extra 1/2 cup of beer in lieu of the last of the sauce. In the end, the chicken and toppings mellowed it all out and it wasn’t overly salty at all. But I panicked and didn’t want to ruin dinner. So if you like things on the blander side, you could replace 1/2 cup of the sauce with beer or water, but it’s definitely not necessary after all. Sometimes tasting as you go is a good thing, but not this time!)
Stir in the chicken and heat through.
Serve with celery, blue cheese and dressing!