Look good don’t they? Juicy, saucy, yet crispy….I love hot wings but so often find that you can either have them crispy, or saucy, not both; and unless you’re deep-frying them saucy usually means the skin is all soft and flabby which frankly, doesn’t appeal. This recipe uses that top American trick with poultry – brining – to impart flavour into the meat and also, crucially, to keep the meat juicy when baked at the high temperatures needed to create a lovely crisp, dry skin which is normally impossible without deep-frying them. To further encourage a crisp exterior I toss the wings in gram flour, which crisps beautifully when the wings are introduced to the hot fat in the baking dish, and also tastes much nicer than regular wheat flour.
‘Buffalo’ hot wings with creamy blue cheese dip
Serves 2 greedily
900g-1kg chicken wings
1/2 x 148ml bottle Frank’s red hot sauce
25g gram flour
1 tsp cayenne
For the brine:
1 litre water
3 tbsp sea salt
3 tbsp chilli flakes
For the creamy blue cheese dip:
100g soft blue cheese (e.g. creamy gorgonzola)
100g sour cream
1 small garlic clove, crushed
1 tbsp cider vinegar
1 tsp Dijon mustard
2 rounded tbsp mayonnaise
First make the brine by dissolving the salt in the water (this is easiest if you dissolve the salt first in a splash of boiling water, then top up with cold water), then stir in the chilli flakes. Immerse your chicken wings in the brine, ensuring they are completely covered – weigh them down with a small plate if necessary – and refrigerate for 1-2 hours.
Meanwhile, make your blue cheese dip: simply place all the ingredients in a mini food processor or in a tall jug with a stick blender, and process until smooth. Preheat the oven to 200°C/Gas 6 and place a large roasting dish in the oven to heat at the same time – the dish must be large enough to take the wings in a single layer.
When the oven is hot and the wings are brined, add a large spoonful of fat – schmaltz, lard or ghee are best, to maximise flavour, but vegetable oil will do – to the hot roasting dish, and return to the oven to get piping hot. Drain, rinse & pat dry your brined wings. In a large bowl toss them in 2 tbsp of the hot sauce then in the flour and cayenne. Carefully place the wings in the hot fat, skin-side down and bake for 50mins-1hour until tender and crisp, turning once (carefully – the skin is fragile!).
In a small saucepan or in a microwave very briefly heat the butter with the remaining hot sauce until the butter is just melted, then pour over the crispy baked wings and toss well to coat. Serve with the blue cheese dip and lots of napkins. Go Nicks!
This is my entry for round 5 of the Sweet Heat Chilli Challenge – Game food.