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Sunny Anderson's Buffalo Ranch Stuffin’ Muffins

Serves 12

Aired

INGREDIENTS
  • For the bread:
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
  • 4 onion brioche rolls, cut into 1/2-inch cubes (about 5-6 cups)
  • 3 packets (3 ounces) ranch dressing seasoning mix
  • Kosher salt and black pepper
  • For the chicken:
  • 2 boneless, skinless chicken thighs
  • 1 cup chopped celery
  • 1 cup chopped Vidalia onions
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced or grated on a rasp
  • 1 stick unsalted butter
  • 1 1/2 cups (12 ounces) hot sauce (I like Frank’s Red Hot)
  • 2 cups chicken stock
  • Kosher salt and black pepper
  • 2 eggs, beaten 
  • Cooking spray
PREPARATION

Prepare the bread: Preheat oven to 350°F. In a medium bowl, whisk together the olive oil and butter. In a large bowl, add the bread cubes and sprinkle with the ranch dressing seasoning mix, a pinch of salt and a few grinds of pepper. Toss to coat and get the mix in the nooks and crannies of the bread as much as possible. Arrange the bread cubes in one layer on 2 baking sheets and sprinkle over any remaining seasoning mix left in the bowl. Drizzle the oil and butter mixture evenly over both baking sheets. Gently toss the bread cubes on each tray to coat as much as possible. Bake in the oven until golden brown, about 20 minutes total, removing and tossing midway through. Remove and cool on the baking sheets.

Prepare the chicken: In a large saucepot, add the chicken, celery, onions, garlic, butter, hot sauce, chicken stock, a nice pinch of salt and a few grinds of black pepper. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to a low simmer and cook until chicken is done, about 20 minutes. Once done, remove all solids from the pot with a slotted spoon or spider to a large bowl. Reserve the poaching liquid for the next step. Allow the chicken to cool then, remove them from the bowl and chop each thigh to bits. Return the chicken to the bowl with the cooked vegetables. Pour in the egg and toss.

Mix and bake: Lower the oven temp to 300°F. Spray the bottom and sides of nonstick muffin tin with cooking spray. Toss the bread in the bowl with the chicken and vegetables. Adding one half cup at a time, pour the reserved poaching liquid over the bowl and stir between each addition. Stop when the bread is very moist, but not soggy. You may not use all of the poaching liquid (if some is left, sip it, it makes a great spicy soup base! Just add noodles or dumplings!). Use a spoon to scoop the stuffing into each muffin tin and pack each tightly then top with another small mound. Some juice will overflow when pressing and that is normal, packing tight insures they will hold together once unmolded. Bake until each has slightly risen, is golden and a tap in the center doesn’t give, about 45-50 minutes. 

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