Buffalo Chicken Buns
As you may know, I was diagnosed with a gluten allergy a few years ago. Not Celiac, mind you, just an inflammatory thing, secondary to my autoimmune hypothyoid. Big fun, made my life miserable, gave me fibromyalgia... and then everything cleared up once I went gluten free.
At the time, my Dr offered me a slight bit of hope: Go off gluten for a 2-3 years, things MAY heal themselves, and the allergy could clear up. MAYBE.
Flash forward a year and a half. I'd been really good, and only caved once, early on. (Got so violently ill, I swore off gluten for the rest of my sentence!). One day, I made a batch of bagels for my husband that looked and smelled SO good, I caved. I rationalized that it had been long enough. I mean, I tend to heal ridiculously fast, so odds were good, right? I rationalized that eating a bagel would be done "in the name of SCIENCE!", and how would I know how things were progressing, if I didn't test it?
I rationalized that any fallout from it would be worth it. I mean really, those suckers were loaded with toasted caraway! I ate one, with no problem. I savored it, angels sang, my world became more colorful in that instant, it was breathtaking.
So, I ate 3 more. Well... more like inhaled. I figured hey, if I am going to get sick, I am going to make it really worth my while! If I'm going to do the time... 😀
Well, I didn't get sick. No pain, no fibro, absolutely no lingering evidence of the hell that gluten put me through just a couple years ago. WOO HOO!
I've been on the most ridiculously hedonistic gluten bender ever since. Bagels! Baguettes! A real doughnut! Loads of bread. I thought... "Oh yes, the goddess of gluten is back in full effect!"
Except not. BOO. Took a week or two, and then the problems set in again.
So, I'm back to gluten-free, but would love to share one of the very first things I baked after being sprung from "gluten free jail": Buffalo Chicken buns. I developed this recipe a few years ago, and have been dreaming of it ever since! So ridiculously good.
Enjoy these buffalo chicken buns!
Buffalo Chicken Rolls
(Makes 6 giant buns)
1 1/2 cups warm - not hot! - water*
4 tsp yeast
1 Tbsp sugar
3 1/2 cups all purpose flour
2 tsp salt
2 large boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1 small onion, finely chopped
2-3 stalks celery, finely chopped
2 tsp vegetable oil
3 cloves garlic, minced or pressed
1/2 cup (or more, to taste) hot sauce
2 cups finely shredded colby jack cheese
* For a more complex and adult flavor, use a 12 oz bottle of beer in place of the water (We used a light tasting home brewed corn beer). Pour beer into a microwave safe bowl, heat til warm (not hot).
Stir yeast and sugar into warm water, allow to stand for 10 minutes – it should get very bubbly.
In a large mixing bowl, combine flour and salt. Pour in yeast mixture, stir well to combine. Dump dough out onto a floured surface, knead until soft and elastic, 5-10 minutes.
(OR: mix it in a stand mixer with a dough hook for 5 minutes or so!)
Once dough is fully kneaded, place in a greased bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and allow to rise for one hour, or until doubled in size.
While the dough is rising, make your filling:
Freeze chicken breasts just long enough to firm them up a bit, maybe 10-15 minutes. Trim, chop into very small cubes.
In a large pan, saute onion and celery in vegetable oil, until vegetables are soft and translucent. Add chicken, garlic, and hot sauce, continue cooking until chicken is fully cooked. Set aside, allow to cool to room temperature.
Once dough has doubled in size and chicken mixture has cooled, roll dough out on a floured surface. Aim to make it a large rectangle, say 15 x 20" or so.
Scatter half of the cheese across the rolled dough, avoiding the very edge of the rectangle.
Evenly scatter the chicken filling over the cheese, avoiding the edge of the dough.
Scatter the remaining cheese over the chicken mixture, once again avoiding the edge of the dough.
Starting with one of the shorter edges, tightly roll the dough up.
Generously grease or spray a 9x 13" baking pan.
Using a very sharp knife, slice the roll into 6 even rounds. I recommend wiping your knife down between each slice, to keep them looking clean and pretty.
Carefully place each roll into the pan, spacing them evenly.
Cover pan with plastic wrap, allow to rise one more time - about 45 minutes. While waiting for the buns to rise, heat oven to 375F.
(This is what they looked like after the final rise!)
Once final rise is over, pop the pan in the oven and bake for 35-40 minutes, or until golden brown and perfect.
Allow to cool for a few minutes, if you're patient. Serve hot, preferably with a drizzle of ranch dressing! (Hey, the whole idea was themed around cinnamon buns, may as well continue that thought in serving them!)