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A friend in Minnesota regularly posts anything-bacon on my Facebook wall. She knows that a buckaroo likes her bacon. One recipe looked hot–as in spicy-hot-wings-hot. The first time I fixed it, my husband insisted that it required at least two beers to finish eating his plateful. Yep, it’s hot and you can tone down the heat by reducing the amount of Tabasco Sauce. But don’t skimp on the bacon.
Buffalo Chicken and Potatoes
- 1/4-cup melted butter
- 1 tsp. sea salt
- 1Tbsp. crushed black peppercorns
- 1 Tbsp. smoked Spanish paprika
- 5 cloves minced garlic
- 5 Tbsp. Tabasco Sauce (reduce if needed)
- 2 pounds boneless chicken, cut into bite-sized chunks
- 10 medium red potatoes, cut into bite-sized chunks
- 2 cups sharp cheddar cheese
- 8 slices of bacon
- 1 bunch green onions, diced
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Any recipe that calls for crushed peppercorns, get your hammer. Seriously. Place the measured amount into a small baggie and set on a stout cutting board. Hammer the pepercorns until crushed.
Using a large mixing bowl, mix butter, garlic, seasoning and hot sauce. Toss the potatoes in the bowl, coating them well with sauce. Spread potatoes in a single layer on a baking sheet, and roast in the oven for 25 minutes. Turn potatoes with a spatula after 15 minutes.
In the meantime, cut up the bacon into small squares and fry until crisp. Drain on a paper-towel draped over a plate. Chunk the chicken, shred the cheese and dice the green onions. When the potatoes are ready to come out of the oven, carefully slide the potatoes and sauce into a rectangular 2-quart casserole. Layer the chicken, then cheese, then bacon, then onions on top. Cover with foil. Bake at 350 degrees until the cheese is bubbly, about 30 to 40 minutes.
Heed this ranch kitchen warning: the sauce the potatoes are roasting in is mighty hot. When you open the oven to flip the potatoes, there will be steam and there will be Tabasco laced in that steam. Be careful not to singe off your eyebrows, scald your face or blind your eyes.
And don’t let that warning frighten you. If you like buffalo chicken and bacon, you will love this casserole. Serve it with a wedge of iceberg lettuce, celery stalks and cool, ranch-dressing. When your mouth gets hot, swallow some cold amber lager or lemonade.