I’m not experienced in the ways of the buffalo wing. I generally find them…well, let’s just say that the ratio of meat to gross animal parts isn’t high enough for my liking, what with the skin and bones and weird tendony whatever bits. The sauce is good though!
A quick internet search indicated that there are several directions you can go with buffalo chicken pizza. Options for the pizza’s sauce include regular tomato sauce, blue cheese (or ranch) dressing, buffalo sauce, and skipping a sauce altogether. Some recipes use mozzarella and some skip it or use cheddar. I didn’t know what to do. I’ve never even eaten buffalo chicken pizza before.
I eventually decided to use ranch dressing as the sauce, but I made my own and kept it pretty light. I just mixed up a bit of buttermilk (or plain yogurt) with mayonnaise and added some basic seasonings. It added a welcome tartness, plus the soothing dairy balances the spicy chicken.
On top of the sauce, I layered the buffalo sauce-coated shredded chicken, a skimpy amount of mozzarella, enough blue cheese to taste without it being overpowering, and some red onions, which caramelized in the oven and contributed sweetness.
This is most definitely the best buffalo chicken pizza I’ve ever had! And I’m pretty sure that isn’t just because it’s the only one I’ve had. Everything is in such a nice balance – the spice heat, sweet onions, tangy dressing, stinky blue cheese. And you know what’s thankfully missing? Bones and skin and weird tendony whatever bits. Score!
One year ago: Gallitos (Costa Rican Breakfast Tacos)
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Buffalo Chicken Pizza
You can really make the shredded chicken however you want. If you just want to poach a boneless skinless chicken breast, that’s probably easier, and if you have leftover rotisserie chicken or something, that will work too. This is just how I like it. Also feel free to skip the brining; I don’t think it makes a huge difference here since there are so many other flavors, but it was easy and I had time, so I did it.
If you’d like more spice, stir some hot sauce (hotter than Frank’s, like Tabasco) or a small pinch of cayenne into the buffalo sauce.
1 large bone-in skin-on chicken breast (about 12 ounces)
1 teaspoon oil
1 tablespoon butter
¼ cup Frank’s hot sauce
½ teaspoon packed brown sugar
1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
1 tablespoon buttermilk or plain yogurt
1 tablespoon mayonnaise
pinch of sugar
pinch of garlic powder
2 ounces (½ cup) mozzarella, shredded
1 ounce (¼ cup) blue cheese, crumbled
¼ cup red onion or scallions, diced very fine
12-16 ounces pizza dough (one third of a recipe calling for about 4 cups of flour), stretched out to 9-12 inches
1. For the chicken: Stir 2 tablespoons salt into 2 cups cold water until it dissolves. Add the chicken; refrigerate for 30 minutes, then remove the chicken from the brine and pat it dry. Adjust an oven rack to the middle-low position and heat the oven to 450ºF. Heat a small oven-safe skillet over medium-high heat. Add the oil and swirl to coat the bottom of the pan; place the chicken breast in the pan skin-side down. Cook without moving until well-browned, about 5 minutes. Turn the chicken over and move the pan to the oven. Roast until an instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the chicken measures 160ºF or the juices run clear when small cut is made in the chicken. Remove the pan from the oven and set aside. When the chicken has cooled enough to handle, remove and discard the skin (or eat it, because it’s crisp and delicious!) and shred the meat with your fingers or two forks. (If you’ve used good chicken, brined it, and pan-roasted it like this, I dare you not to resist stealing bites of the shredded chicken. It’s delicious.) Increase the oven temperature to 500ºF.
2. For the buffalo sauce: Melt the butter in a small saucepan. Add the brown sugar, hot sauce, and vinegar. Mix the sauce with the shredded chicken.
3. For the white sauce: In a small bowl, stir together the buttermilk or yogurt, mayonnaise, sugar, garlic powder, and a pinch each of salt and pepper.
4. Assemble the pizza: Place the pizza dough on a wooden paddle that’s been liberally coated with cornmeal. (Or use parchment paper instead of the cornmeal, or the back of a baking sheet instead of the paddle.) Spread the white sauce evenly on the pizza dough; top with the chicken, then the cheeses, and finally the onions.
5. Bake the pizza for 8-10 minutes, until the cheese is melted and bubbling and the crust is browned. Let the pizza rest about 5 minutes before cutting and serving.