Most university dining halls have a pretty bad reputation and the dining hall at my Alma Mater, the University of Maryland in College Park, was no exception. However, every 2 weeks the dining hall would present the ‘Buffchick’…a buffalo chicken sandwich that had an almost cult following. Students would mark the day of the Buffchick on their calendars and the dining hall sold an average of 1,570 sandwiches every time it was offered. The school newspaper published odes to the Buffchick and the sandwich was referred to not as an ‘it’ but as a female. When Nathan mentioned that he wanted to make a Buffalo Chicken sandwich for Rampant Cuisine I took it as a challenge to improve on what many of my fellow students thought was perfection. Our buffalo chicken sandwich features a crispy oven-baked breaded chicken breast on a bed of fresh spinach as well as homemade blue cheese dressing and our very own spicy IPA buffalo sauce. I’m sorry cafeteria ladies, but I think we have you beat.
I’m not gonna lie…I bought this wine because the cool and distinctive label caught my attention. I also tend to like Malbecs and thought that this wine would stand up well to the bold spice of the sandwich. The first sniff of the wine was very promising but then it fell flat. The flavor was initially light and then very dry and acidic and then it just disappeared at the finish. I didn’t feel that it did anything for the sandwich. If I was going to do the pairing again I would probably choose a Cabernet Sauvignon or Merlot. Or maybe the awesomeness of the sandwich would make ANY wine pale in comparison?
You can read more about our heavy metal IPA here. This beer was an interesting pairing with the buffalo chicken sandwich. The bite from the hops cut through the tangy flavors from the buffalo sauce while the slight spice from the peppers in the beer provided a continuity of flavors. If you were looking for something to really wash down the flavors instead of complimenting them a more malt forward beer (possibly a brown ale) would have been really good as well.
Buffalo Chicken Sandwich:
2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, about 4-6 oz. each
½ cup bread crumbs
1 egg, beaten
1 Tbs. IPA buffalo sauce, recipe follows
2 Kaiser Rolls
Preheat oven to 425˚. Mix salt and pepper with bread crumbs. Place the chicken breasts between two sheets of plastic wrap and flatten them to an even thickness using a rolling pin. Salt and pepper the chicken breasts. Mix the IPA buffalo sauce with the beaten egg. Dip each chicken breast into the egg mixture, then the bread crumb mixture, the egg mixture again, and lastly, the bread crumb mixture. Place them in a baking dish coated with cooking spray. Bake uncovered for 15-20 minutes until done and no longer pink inside. Serve the chicken on kaiser buns with fresh spinach. Dress with blue cheese dressing and buffalo sauce.
Katryn’s ‘lighter’ creamy blue cheese dressing:
½ cup Smart Balance mayonnaise
½ cup light sour cream
1 tsp. lemon juice
1 tsp. red wine vinegar
1 tsp. minced garlic
3 dashes Worcestershire sauce
Salt, to taste
Black pepper, to taste
Combine all ingredients except blue cheese in a food processor until smooth. Add blue cheese and process to the desired consistency. Taste and adjust the seasonings.
IPA Buffalo Sauce:
1 Tbs. Butter
¼ cup + 2 Tbs. Texas Pete hot sauce or Frank’s hot sauce
¼ cup IPA beer
1 Tbs. apple cider vinegar
½ tsp. garlic powder
½ tsp. onion powder
¼ – ½ tsp. cayenne pepper, depending on how spicy you like it!
Melt butter in small saucepan over medium heat and add remaining ingredients. Bring to a boil and then turn off heat.