Zesty Buffalo Chicken Croquettes for Game Day

The next time you rent a vacation home to go cheer on your favorite team, I've got the perfect recipe for you to serve up. These easy-to-make bite-sized No-Fry Buffalo Chicken Croquettes are an ideal dish for everyone from fussy foodies to cost-conscious vacationers on the go. Baking the croquettes in the oven is a healthier alternative to frying. One bite will leave you looking for another.

One of the fun things about cooking a whole chicken is it’s a great low-cost way to stretch your dollar into multiple meals. In this recipe, I use half of the chicken meat to make zesty game-day croquettes. The rest of it goes into soup, but could be used dozens of different ways.

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To cook the chicken, I prefer to slowly boil it with carrots, onion, celery, and some of my favorite spices. But roasting, grilling, or even buying a rotisserie chicken pre-cooked at the market are all good ways to get the dish started.  Start by rendering down the bacon and set aside. Sweat down the finely diced sweet onion slowly in the leftover bacon drippings until they are translucent.

When they are cooled, add the bacon bits and onion to a large mixing bowl with the beaten eggs and wing sauce.  To prepare the chicken, I prefer to pulse it in a food processer until it becomes smaller than a fine dice and takes on an almost fibrous look.  Use both the white and dark meat from the chicken adds a balance of flavor and texture.  The same consistency can be achieved using a sharp knife and lots of chopping, but it’s a lengthy process.  Fold the chicken bits and crumbled bleu cheese into the egg mixture until well incorporated, adding sour cream as needed for additional moisture. 

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I like to let the chicken get acquainted with its spicy neighbors in the refrigerator for at least a half hour while the oven warms to 400F.  Prepare the Panko bread crumbs by mixing them in a bowl with the melted butter until all the crumbs are well coated.  Grab a heaping tablespoon of the mixture and roll it in your hands to form a ball smaller than a golf ball but larger than a peach pit.  Roll the chicken mixture in the bread crumbs, forming a thin, even coating.  Preserving its round shape, place the lightly breaded croquette on a baking sheet coated with non-stick spray.

Bake near the top of the oven for 20 minutes until golden. 

The croquettes get some zip from the wing sauce with the blue cheese and chicken keeping its temperament in check.  The bits of bacon are a welcome surprise that give you something to talk about back at the water cooler on Monday. Serve with a dollop of sour cream.  Makes about 24 croquettes.

Ingredients:

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One whole young chicken

½ cup crumbled bleu cheese

½ cup wing sauce (like Franks Red Hot)

½ sweet onion finely diced

4 strips bacon, diced

½ cup sour cream and additional for garnish

2 eggs, beaten

1-cup Panko bread crumbs

¼ cup melted butter


About the Author: Paul Sidoriak is a long time foodie who will try to cook just about anything outside, and on the grill.  His website GrillingMontana showcases some of his culinary successes and failures, often from the grill.  If he is not cooking on the Big Green Egg, you can probably find him fly-fishing near his home in Western Montana.  He would be honored if you follow him on Facebook and Twitter.