Thursday, August 8, 2013

Garlic and Blue Cheese Pull Apart Bread

I love blue cheese. Ok, in reality, you'd be hard pressed to find a cheese I don't love, but blue cheese is certainly one of my favorites. I love it on salads, in dips, with steak, on a cheeseburger with bacon, stuffed inside baked figs, any myriad of ways, really. I'm especially fond of Roth Kase's buttermilk blue. It's domestic, which is something I aim for whenever possible with food, it's loaded with crumbly pockets of blue mold, is not too wet and soggy, and it has a perfect balance of creamy and funky flavors. 

I mean, look at that gorgeous crumbly mold. Both the creaminess and the tangy, funky, blue flavor of the cheese is well showcased in this delightfully simple pull apart bread. The garlic and hot sauce are like added bonuses to what was already a winning combination- butter, blue cheese, and bread.  

I had a boyfriend in college who introduced me to the concept for this dish when he brought it to a party we were attending, and I ate pretty much all of it. I don't remember the party- whether it was a party with friends or with family, what went on, or even whether it happened in Ohio, New York, or Washington. All I remember is the blue cheese pull apart bread. It is that good. His version was spicier and lacked the garlic, but the idea was the same, butter coated biscuits all stuck together with blue cheese and hot sauce. Like a savory monkey bread. I started working on my interpretation of it shortly after college and after many delicious interpretations (you really can't mess this stuff up), I've settled on blue cheese, garlic, hot sauce, and red chili pepper flakes as my favorite toppings. 

This is a great dish to serve at a dinner party, I like to pull it out of the oven a few minutes after the first guests arrive and put it on the kitchen table for everyone to snack on while we wait for the inevitable latecomers. Plus, putting it on the kitchen table guarantees I can eat half of it while I finish up the rest of the cooking. 

1 tube of instant biscuits (I've used Pillsbury Buttermilk and Immaculate Baking Co Buttermilk Biscuits)
5 Tbsp Butter
3/4 C crumbled blue cheese
1-2 tsp hot sauce
1 tsp red pepper flakes
4 cloves garlic minced

Preheat oven to 350 degrees fahrenheit.
Coat pan (I used a round anchor hocking dish, you could use a loaf pan, a small bundt pan, a square cake pan, just about any pan will do) with small amount of butter. Melt the rest of the butter in a small dish, add the hot sauce to the melted butter and mix.

If using the smaller Pilsbury biscuits, cut each biscuit in half, if using larger rolls of biscuits, cut each biscuit into quarters. Dip the individual pieces into the melted butter/hot sauce then place in pan, after you've covered the bottom of the pan in a single layer of biscuits (about 1/2 the biscuits), add a layer of cheese, minced garlic, and red pepper flakes (using about 1/2 all the toppings). Make second layer of butter dipped biscuit dough, and add the rest of the cheese, garlic, and red pepper flakes. I find this recipe works best if executed in two layers, but more or less will still work. 

Place dish in oven and bake 30-40 minutes, or until the biscuits take on a pretty dark golden brown hue. You want to wait until it's really a pretty dark gold to guarantee your middle biscuits cook all the way through. 

Remove from oven and allow to cool about 3 minutes, or the butter will burn you when you pull  off a piece. Pieces should easily come apart when pulled with fingers. I serve mine whole and let folks pull it apart with their hands to get pieces. 

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