Sometimes it's time to put away the multigrain and the low fat and the high fiber and stop worrying about whether I got my proper Omega-3's and antioxidants for the day. Sometimes I just need to wear pajamas and settle down on the couch with a tray of something really bad and really awesome at the same time. Generally, a square of dark chocolate will do it for me, but occasionally there comes a time when I just gotta splurge.

For me, that means fried buffalo chicken. It's one of my favorite indulgences. I was recently at a Geological Society of America conference in Buffalo, NY, which afforded me an opportunity to pick up a jar (or four) of the original buffalo wing sauce from the Anchor Bar and Restaurant. I've been thinking of what to do with this sauce for a while. It's the original; something special should be done. I'm not going to just baste some wings with this stuff and call it a day. No, this calls for something supremely, sublimely, superlatively decadent. This requires the combination of two amazing indulgence foods into one unbeatable combination for zero health benefit but incredible personal satisfaction for all those involved.

This requires fried buffalo chicken macaroni and cheese.

Now, stay with me here. It's not really *that* much of a stretch. Lots of buffalo chicken recipes include cheese. It's also kind of stupid easy to make, once I sat down and started sketching it out.

Things you will need:

Wing sauce. I used close to a whole 12 oz. bottle for this recipe, but your mileage may vary depending on how much you like wing sauce. I personally say when in doubt, add more wing sauce.

Cheese. Lots of it. As cheap as you want to go. As much delicious cheap melty cheese as you can get your greasy little meathooks on. Packages of cheapo American melt delightfully, or you could be a little more high-end and get some shredded cheddar type stuff. Just make sure it melts. Don't come crying to me 'cause your fancy parmigiano reggiano idea didn't take off. There is NO classy way to do this dish so don't even try. It's blue collar and that's the way it's supposed to be. Velveeta if you want. Four cups at least.

Chicken breast. I used five medium-sized pieces of chicken breast. Dice them a day (or at least a few hours) ahead of time and put the chunks in a freezer bag with some of the wing sauce, making sure all the chicken is covered, and let it marinade in the fridge.

Macaroni (or some kind of pasta). This is a no-brainer. Take package of macaroni, place in boiling water, cook, drain, set aside in a large mixing bowl or casserole dish. If you can use a casserole dish, you save a step but you might make a mess mixing the other stuff into the macaroni later.

Two medium-sized onions and 3 cloves of garlic, chopped.


Pepper to taste.


Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.

In a container (I used a medium sized tupperware), crack an egg into about half a cup of flour and mix it up. Add some wing sauce to this mixture and mix well. The mix should have a decent consistency to it but not be too thin. You want it to stick to the chicken. Add another egg if you think you need more binder. Drop the chunks of chicken into the mix and roll them around, get them well-coated. Pan fry the coated chunks in some oil (I use safflower but canola works just as well).

On medium heat in a wok, sautee the onions and garlic for a bit until the onions start going clear. Dump in the cheese and start working it around on the medium heat, and add in some milk to keep the consistency kinda runny. You need a big saucepan or wok for this 'cause you're going to be making a bucketload of cheese sauce. If the sauce seems too runny, put some flour in to thicken it up a bit. Keep working it around until it's all melty. Mmmmm, melty. I also dumped some wing sauce into this for Ultimate Buffalo Flavor. If you love bleu cheese with your buffalo wings, you could even put some bleu crumbles into the cheese sauce for a bit of zing.

Once it's melty and bubbly, dump in the fried chicken and mix it all together. Reduce the heat to low and let it simmer for a smidge, then pour the whole shebangabang on top of the macaroni and mix well. Now, at this point you could theoretically serve it if you wanted, but I decided I wanted a nice finish on top. I sprinkled some breadcrumbs over the surface and added some dabs of butter, along with some sprigs of Greek basil from Socrates and a drizzle of yes, MORE WING SAUCE. Bake at 350 for about 25 minutes, and you get a pretty little crisp finish on top of the casserole.

Voila. Guaranteed to be a crowd-pleaser, if not an artery-clogger. My sister's boyfriend went back three times for more. Makes awesome leftovers if there's anything left.


brynn mannino said...

Hi! I’m writing from WomansDay.com to let you know that we have chosen to include your photo/recipe in our Mac and Cheese roundup! To credit you properly, we will use this language: Courtesy of rustyshrapnel/rustyshrapnel.com (with a hyperlink to your photo/account). If (and only if) you have any concerns about language/rights, please contact bmannino@hfmus.com with alterations. Thank you and congrats!

Fhtrkstr101 said...

This looks amazing. Bookmarked it, and will certainly be making it sometime very soon.