Buffalo wings (insert slurpy food sounds here). They’re spicy, they’re saucy and oh so messy – what a fun finger food to eat. I will admit that if I get a craving for wings, I prefer to eat them at a restaurant – mainly because they’re a lot of work to make well and the fact that I don’t own a deep fryer – although I could MacGyver one from a large pot, that’s besides the point.
When wings sound good, but we’re just not up for going out to eat, I make my homemade buffalo sauce and we enjoy it on Buffalo Blue Chicken Salad or Buffalo Chicken Tacos, and it really hits the spot! What’s even better is that my sauce is super healthy, yep, really it is! Many commercial wing sauces use refined fats as well as chemical thickeners to make the bottled sauces shelf stable and heavy enough to fully coat a chicken wing. I’m not bashing them, they do taste good, but if you’re trying to watch our waistlines and steer clear from extra fat and additives, you might want to give my twist on tradition a try.
I have been making this sauce for years now…fair warning it is HOT. My husband, who adores spicy foods of all kinds, claims, “it’s not hot it just tastes really good.” His words not mine. Most other friends and family who have tried it agree with me – it’s HOT, but in a really good I want more of that crazy tangy heat kind of a way.
So here we go…
Into a saucepan over medium high heat add a Tablespoon of canola oil, a large onion, a few chopped up garlic cloves and a good pinch of Kosher salt.
Reduce heat to medium low and allow the onion to sweat out it’s natural juices slowly. You don’t want to brown the onions, if you see them turning brown your heat is too high. Make sure to stir the mixture every few minutes. After about 10 minute add in 5 red chili peppers seeds and all.
I grew these little beauties in my garden and love to use them when they’re available. However, in the off season I use dried chili de arbol which you can find online or in the Hispanic aisle of most supermarkets. If you use the dried chilis make sure to soak them in warm water for 20-30 minutes, drain and then add them to the onions.
Let the chilis cook with the onions for a few minutes and then add 12 oz. of cayenne pepper sauce and a couple of Tablespoons of distilled white vinegar. I use Frank’s Original Red Hot because I like the flavor and it has just 5 basic ingredients in it, all of which I can pronounce.
Cook this on medium heat for 10-15 minutes then remove from heat and allow to cool to room temperature. It will cook down and reduce in volume and thicken up – all good things 😉
Next pour the mixture into the base of a blender or the mixing cup of your immersion blender (affiliate link). Blend until the sauce is smooth; you will notice it change from a darker russet color to a vibrant orange. This happens as the cooked onions are blended up thickening the sauce without adding butter.
Ta-da! You just made thick, fiery, and HEALTHY Buffalo Sauce from scratch! You can douse your wings all you want and feel guilt free.
This sauce will keep in the refrigerator in an airtight container for up to 2 weeks or can be frozen for up to 2 months.
It never lasts that long at my house – in fact, I use the entire recipe when I make Buffalo Chicken Tacos 😉 If you’re feeding a crowd simply shred 2 pounds of cooked chicken into your crock pot and pour the full 2 cups of sauce over the chicken, mix , set on low for an hour and your shredded buffalo chicken is ready to be made into tacos. I like to use a Costco rotisserie Chicken because it is easy, already seasoned and usually yields about 2 pounds. Not a Costco member? No problem, you can use any shredded chicken.
We like to pile the saucy shredded chicken into warm tortillas, then top with my tangy sour cream sauce, crumbled blue cheese, homemade pickled red onions and a little shredded lettuce. Now dig in and keep the cold drinks coming!