If you like Buffalo Chicken Wings, then you will LOVE Buffalo Chicken Roll-ups! I was born in Buffalo, NY and lived there through my mid-20s. I am well versed in Buffalo Hot Wings! A 'less than healthy' staple of the traditional Buffalonian diet, they originated at the Anchor Bar on Main Street in downtown Buffalo. Story has it that in 1964, Dominic Bellissimo was tending bar at the current Anchor Bar and a group of his 'very hungry' friends stopped by. His mother, Theressa, owner of the Anchor Bar, quickly assembled a snack for her son and his unexpected friends that evening, by deep-frying chicken wings she happened to have available in their refrigerator, and then bathing them in her husband, Frank's, secret sauce. She served them up with celery and carrot sticks, accompanied by blue cheese dressing. They were an INSTANT Buffalo SENSATION. Immediately, added to their menu, they soon became a national and international hit! The Buffalo Chicken Roll-ups that I am sharing in this blog play on this SAME flavor combination, but with a 'slightly healthier' twist (if that exists) incorporating leaner chicken breast meat instead of chicken wings and baking the chicken rather than deep-frying it.
The marquee flavor in Buffalo Chicken Wings, and this dish, is attributed to the "secret" hot sauce. This sauce consists of spicy, aged, red chili peppers that are bottled and sold as "Frank's RedHot ORIGINAL Cayenne Pepper Sauce." This sauce is of medium heat level. An even spicier variant of this sauce is marketed as "Frank's RedHot XTRA HOT Sauce." At the Anchor Bar, the wings can be ordered to various heat levels. They even offer "suicide" wings which are generously sprinkled with hot chili pepper flakes overtop the hot sauce. The heat of the hot sauce, however, is easily tempered with a tangy, chunky blue cheese dressing or a cool ranch dressing.
The Buffalo Chicken Roll-ups incorporate the chicken, the hot sauce, the veggies, and the blue cheese into EACH BITE. While the center of the roll houses the tangy cheese and crunchy veggies, the exterior of the roll is coated in a crust of crumbled Ritz Crackers, adding a subtle buttery flavor to the roll. Assembly of this dish typically takes me about 30 minutes. Baking time is about 1 hour and 10 minutes, to ensure that the center of the chicken roll is fully cooked.
Buffalo Chicken Roll-up recipe (makes 8 rolls)
Ingredients for filling:
1/3 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese
1/3 cup crumbled blue cheese
1/3 cup celery, finely chopped
1/3 cup carrots, finely chopped
1 bunch green onions, finely chopped
salt and pepper, to taste
Ingredients for coating:
2 Tbsp of light mayonnaise
1/3 cup of Frank's RedHot Original sauce
Juice of 1/2 lemon
1 tube of Ritz crackers, crumbled in food processor
Ingredients for chicken:
4 chicken breasts, filleted in halves and pounded thin
salt and pepper
water or chicken broth
Ingredients for topping:
2 Tbsp butter, melted
1/4 cup Franks RedHot sauce
Preheat the oven to 400 F. Spray the bottom of your baking dish with non-stick oil.
In a small bowl combine all the ingredients for the filling.
On a large cutting board, prep the chicken breast by filleting them in half and then pounding them thin. Season with garlic powder, salt and pepper.
In one bowl make the dredging mixture by combining the mayonnaise, hot sauce and lemon juice. In another bowl place the finely crumbled Ritz crackers to make the breading station.
Assemble the rolls by spreading a couple of spoonfuls of the filling mixture across the surface of each chicken breast. Roll them up and carefully dip them into the wet dredging mixture and then roll them in the cracker crumbs to coat the exterior of the rolls. Place them tightly next to each other in the baking dish, seam side down.
When all rolls are in the baking dish, lightly drizzle the surface with a bit of olive oil. Add a small amount of either water or chicken broth to the bottom of the dish, about a fingerbreadth deep. COVER with lid or foil and place into the oven for one hour.
After an hour whisk together 2 Tbsp melted butter and a 1/4 cup of Frank's RedHot Sauce in a small measuring cup. Remove the lid from the baking dish and drizzle the buttered hot sauce over the surface of the rolls. Place back into the oven, UNCOVERED, for another 10 minutes.
So Easy, so Tasty
While this dish certainly requires several steps for its assembly, once assembled, your oven takes over the work! The pay-off, once baked, is a flavor blast of spicy, tangy chicken. I will admit that this dish does have a kick to it, but nothing crazy. If you shy away from dishes with even a bit of heat, then this may not be for you. But, if you like Buffalo Wings with medium heat or hotter, then you will LOVE these roll-ups. My sons are addicted to Frank's RedHot Sauce and put it on nearly EVERYTHING. (I end up purchasing the industrial-sized containers of it at Costco to keep up with them.) This dish has become a family favorite in our house. I typically serve it accompanied by wild rice, orzo, or Israeli couscous. For extra veggies, I usually steam some broccoli or green beans, but a cool green salad with either ranch or blue cheese dressing would also complement it nicely. As for an "adult beverage" pairing, I think nice cold beer tames this dish the best.
So if you are ready to add a kick to your humdrum dinner routine, then give this a try. It's BOLD, it's SPICY and it's FIRE! 🔥🔥🔥