I love the foods that are associated with football, but I’m not a huge football watcher. I do, however, remember hanging out in the living room with my uncle and grandpa the weekend before Thanksgiving, while they watched “the big game” – Cal versus Standford. I learned how to shout “Go Bears!” with much enthusiasm. I probably learned how to shout some other phrases too that weren’t quite as wholesome. Since those days, I find the background noise of a football game on TV oddly comforting, even though I don’t really have a desire to sit down and watch a game from start to finish.
When I found out that the theme of this Recipe Swap was Tailgating/Appetizers, I still wanted to participate, despite my lack of tailgating experience. I happen to know that delicious foods are present while watching football, things involving melted cheese, fried goodies, and perhaps buffalo sauce. Yes, please. Not every day, but it’s fun to indulge once in a while, whether or not you’re watching football. Grilled Sriracha “Poppers” were our contribution to the swap; Buffalo Chicken Rolls were assigned to me.
These rolls are everything you love about buffalo wings, wrapped up neatly in an egg roll wrapper and baked until crispy and golden. When you bite into them, you get a combination of spicy buffalo chicken and cooling blue cheese crumbles. We agreed that the shredded cabbage and carrots were overpowered by the strong flavors of the buffalo chicken and blue cheese and didn’t add much, but I definitely understand wanting to add something fresh to the rolls. If we made these again, we’d probably just serve the traditional celery and carrots and blue cheese dip next to the buffalo chicken rolls, or maybe a slaw.
Also, while we appreciated the ease (and possible health benefits) of baking instead of frying, we think these would have been even better if they had been pan-fried in oil or deep-fried so that all surfaces of the egg roll wrappers could have gotten crispy; We found some of the edges to be a little undercooked when they came out of the oven. But putting these minor things aside, this is a fun appetizer with bold flavors that are sure to please the crowds, whether you’re tailgating, entertaining your friends, or just looking for something fun for dinner.
Buffalo Chicken Rolls
(Slightly adapted from Taste and See; originally from Can you Stay for Dinner?)
5 TBS. butter
3/4 cup Crystal Hot Sauce (or your preferred hot sauce)
1/8 teaspoon garlic powder
2 cups chicken, shredded (we bought a rotisserie chicken and shredded it ourselves)
1/2 cup (2 ounces) crumbled blue cheese
1/2 a head of Napa cabbage, shredded, tossed with 1/2 of a medium carrot, grated*
12-15 egg roll wrappers
Small bowl of water
Vegetable or Canola oil
Blue cheese dressing or Ranch dressing for dipping
*The original recipe calls for a bag of cole slaw mix, something we’ve never bought (and come to think of it, have never noticed at our natural foods store), so we decided to buy fresh cabbage and shred it ourselves instead. I added some grated carrot too.
- Melt the butter in a medium sauce pan over low heat, stirring until completely melted. Add the hot sauce and the garlic powder. Stir to incorporate. Add the sauce to the shredded chicken. If you want less heat, use less sauce, but we pretty much used it all! Mix until the chicken is moistened with the sauce.
- Preheat oven to 400-degrees F. Lay egg roll wrappers on a clean work surface. Begin by placing one tablespoon of the shredded cabbage/carrot mixture on the diagonal of the bottom right corner of one of the wrappers. Next, place 2 tablespoons of shredded buffalo chicken evenly on top of the slaw. Sprinkle some blue cheese crumbles over the chicken. Do not overfill.
- To fold: Fold the bottom right corner over the stuffing mixture so that it covers it completely, with the tip of the corner now pointing to the center of the egg roll wrapper. Fold in the bottom left corner, followed by the right, so that you now have formed an envelope. Roll the wrap upward one time, leaving the top left corner open. Wet your index finger in the small bowl of water and press to moisten the top left corner. Now fold that down on top of the filled roll, sealing it like you would an envelope.
(Unfortunately, I didn’t take a picture of the assembly process – if you’re a visual person like me and need some great photos to see how to do this, check out the original recipe here).
- Repeat with remaining rolls.
- Place the rolls on a greased wire rack set on top of a cookie sheet. Brush the rolls lightly with oil or spritz with cooking spray. Bake for 10-12 minutes or until rolls are golden brown, flipping the rolls halfway through. Allow to cool for several minutes before serving with blue cheese or ranch for dipping.