Alright, folks. Game Day is approaching, this is not a drill. What we’re going to be running here, ladies, is a classic Malibu Ken formation *spits* and we’re going to be focusing on driving that ball forward, and…I don’t know…aft? Okay, you got me — I don’t know much about football. But I do know that it’s a thing, and if you live in the city of Minneapolis like I do…it’s, like, a whole thing. We’re hosting the Big Game this year, and we have all the trembling knees and frenzied road construction to prove it.
And in between wondering why we need a new snow bridge downtown (apparently so folks can cross-country ski?) and price-checking our homes on Airbnb, we’re all starting to wonder what we should do with ourselves on that Fated Sunday. My vote is to stay inside, wear fuzzy socks, watch the madness on TV and curl up with an unreasonably large portion of this dip. Sure, you can bring it to a Superbowl party, and everyone will love you for it. But then you have to, you know, share. And it’s the last game of the year, people, this is no time to do something you’ll regret.
This dip is perfect for game day. It’s easy to put together at the last minute, it still tastes good at room temperature, and I guarantee at least one person will ask you for the recipe. And you’ll chuckle to yourself a little, because this dish is so easy it almost isn’t even a recipe. I’ve made plenty of fancier appetizers for occasions like this — pimento cheese with crudite, caramelized onion and goat cheese tartlettes — but I’m telling you, all anyone ever wants me to bring is this dip. And why not? It’s creamy, spicy, cheesy. It has more ranch dressing in it than I would normally admit to in polite society. And all it needs on the side are some corn chips that come in the “scoop” variety (don’t make me say it, you know the ones). So go ahead — place your bets. But I’m telling you, the safest bet you can make is that this dip will be gone by halftime.
Buffalo Chicken Dip
Approx 2 cups cooked chicken, pulled (the white meat from 1 rotisserie chicken)*
½ cup Ranch dressing
½ cup Frank’s Red Hot (try not to substitute, this is the quintessential “buffalo” hot sauce)
16 oz sharp or extra sharp cheddar, grated
8 oz cream cheese, softened to room temperature
Preheat your oven to 350 F. In a large mixing bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer, combine the cream cheese, half of the grated cheddar, chicken, hot sauce and ranch. Mix on low speed with the paddle attachment until the mixture is well blended. Taste the mixture and balance the flavors by adding more ranch or hot sauce as necessary. The amount depends on how spicy you like it, so go by taste. Season with salt and pepper and transfer the mixture to a shallow baking dish. Using a rubber spatula, smooth the mixture until it’s spread in an even layer. Top with the remaining cheese. Transfer to the oven and bake for 25-30 minutes, until the cheese is fully melted and the mixture is bubbling. Cool 5-10 minutes and serve.
*If you prefer, you can bake 1 large or 2 small boneless, skinless chicken breasts. Bake, steam or poach until just cooked through and dice. You could also place the cooked chicken breasts in the bowl of a stand mixer and mix on low speed until the chicken is pulled.