I really redeemed myself with this one, and boy did I need to. I had an epic fail earlier in the week. I should clarify that it was only a failure with my husband and kids--I happened to really like it. The dish I speak of was Roasted Sweet Potato Soup with Quinoa and a Parmesan-Panko topping. It was hearty, healthy, and I'll admit a bit of an unusual flavor combo. But as I said, I really liked it. My husband, who never complains about much, couldn't finish his bowl. My oldest, who is a drama queen and ridiculously picky eater, took one hesitant bite and gagged. Awesome. My toddler just looked at it and said, "No!" You win some, you lose some, right? I'd prefer to talk about my successes, so let's chat about the redemptive dish: Buffalo Chicken French Breads. Wow. These were insanely good. All the flavors of Buffalo wings without the mess, bones, and skin, combined with the toasty french bread to make it like a pizza or open-faced sandwich. If you are looking for a fun, easy dinner on New Year's Eve, this would be perfect. They would also make a great appetizer, just cut into smaller squares before serving.
Buffalo Chicken French Breads
-adapted from http://www.howsweeteats.com
1 loaf of french bread, cut in half lengthwise--I like the French sourdough loaf (are you surprised???)
1 1/2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts--cubed**
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
2 garlic cloves, minced
2/3 cup buffalo wing sauce + extra for drizzling
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
3 tablespoons ranch dressing
12 ounces fontina cheese, freshly grated. I suppose you could use mozzarella or provolone, but fontina is so yummy. Please try it.
6 ounces crumbled gorgonzola cheese--if you are a blue-cheese lover you could use another type, but gorgonzola is perfectly mild for someone like me who can only handle a little bit of that blue cheese funk.
4 green onions, thinly sliced
1 bunch of cilantro, chopped
Place an oven rack in the middle of the over and heat your broiler to the high setting. Place the french bread, cut-side up, on a baking sheet and set in the oven for 2 minutes, then rotate and broil 2 minutes more, just until slightly golden. Remove and let cool.
Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat and add olive oil. Toss chicken with salt and pepper, then add to the skillet and cook until browned on all sides, about 10-12 minutes. Once cooked through, add garlic and stir for 30 seconds, then add in buffalo wing sauce and butter. Stir to toss and coat.
**I changed how I cooked the chicken, since I thought shredded would be best. I simply simmered the chicken in water/seasonings and then shredded. I then sauteed the garlic briefly in some olive oil, then stirred in the cooked, shredded chicken, buffalo sauce, and butter. I much prefer that to chunks of sauteed chicken, but do as you wish.
Brush 1 1/2 tablespoons (or more if desired) of ranch dressing onto each cut side of french bread. I didn't measure this--just spread on the ranch as you would butter. Top with a light sprinkling of fontina. Add the chicken, spooning out all of the sauce in the skillet. Cover with remaining fontina and gorgonzola. I should say that I cut my break into quarters before assembling so that I could tailor the amount of chicken/cheese to everyone's taste. Broil on high (on the same center rack) for 5-6 minutes, watching closely and rotating the pan once or twice during broiling. You must watch closely because all broilers differ! It may take your oven 3-4 minutes or closer to 8. Just cook until the cheese is melted and slightly golden and the bread is somewhat crunchy.
Remove and top with green onions and cilantro. I forgot the green onions and still thought this was fantastic. Cut into pieces and serve with extra wing sauce and ranch.
Now, I didn't want to make the whole loaf at once, so I just made half and stuck the remaining chicken/cheeses/cilantro etc in the fridge. The next day I toasted the other half of bread, reheated the leftover chicken, and assembled fresh sandwiches that were just as great as the night before.