It has been too long since my last post and, for that I apologize. Sometimes life gets in the way which is the second lesson for surviving the holiday meal (topic from the last post). When that happens you must let it and do the best you can…everyone will understand. I will continue that topic and go over all of the details in later posts, but this time I have to write about a recipe for chicken wings that I just adore.
I was about six years old when I discovered that I loved the wings of roasted fowl. It happened on Thanksgiving at my grandmother’s house. She was going around the table with a platter of sliced turkey, when she got to me she asked me if I liked white meat or dark. Sitting next to the sliced meat was a giant drumstick and a beautifully roasted, mahogany brown wing with crisp skin and sparsely covered with seasoning. I asked,”could I have that piece?” pointing to the wing. She smiled, realizing that I had inherited that side of the family’s taste for crisp skin. I was in heaven…the skin was crisp, perfectly seasoned and the meat below it was moist and tender. At that time, over 40 years ago , there were no chicken wings on every restaurant menu. In fact, a lot of restauranteurs would use wings they didn’t need to make stock. I use the wing tips to make stock to this day and they add a great deal of gelatin to the stock. Now, it seems that, almost all of America has embraced my love of the wing…wings are almost as expensive as chicken breasts. That is why I buy several whole chickens when I find a good quality bird on sale, cut them up myself, and save the wings for an occasion like a party or the Super Bowl.
I found a recipe for Carmalized Chicken with Ginger in a small, inexpensive William Sonoma cookbook entitled ASIAN on page 54 which I have adapted simply because the instructions create too many dirty pots and…well…I think my way turns out just a little bit better. Still, I have used several recipes and loved each one, I recommend this book (if you can find it-especially on sale). The wings come out salty, sweet and gooey with a unique flavor and wonderful aroma of ginger and shallots. Yes mom, I am making these for the Super Bowl party. On to the recipe:
Caramalized Chicken Wings:
½ cup sugar
1 Tbsp fresh lemon juice (about juice from ½ lemon)
¼ cup fish sauce
1 Tbsp soy sauce
¼ cup water
2 Tbsp peanut oil (or other good quality, high temperature oil like grape seed oil or coconut oil)
2 pounds chicken wings (tips removed and saved for a stock)
4 shallots minced
2 cloves garlic minced
1 Tbsp peeled fresh ginger root minced (plus a few fine juliennes of ginger for garnishing)
½ tsp freshly ground black pepper
2 green onions thinly sliced on an angle
2 Tbsp cilantro leaves
Heat a skillet with a tight fitting lid (you will need to cover the pot later in the recipe) over medium high heat. Add the oil and swirl to coat the bottom of the pan. Pat the chicken wings dry with a paper towel and add them to the pot in a single layer, brown on all sides. This will take about 15 minutes. Remove the chicken wings from the pan and pour off all but 2 Tbsp of the fat keeping the pan at the ready for the final step. While the wings are cooking make the sauce in a separate pan.
Assemble all of the liquid ingredients in a measuring cup. Place the sugar in a heavy bottomed sauce pan over medium heat. I have done it over low heat in the past as well and I have decided that I am too impatient to wait. Watch the sugar as it begins to melt and stir it if it seems to be getting too dark in one spot. Allow the sugar to melt completely and cook until it has reached a nice amber color stirring if necessary. Turn the heat down to low and carefully pour the liquid ingredients into the sugar. This may cause it to sputter a bit so do be careful. Allow this mixture to cook until all of the sugar is dissolved and a nice rich sauce is established.
Once the sauce is complete return the skillet used to brown the chicken wings back to a medium high heat. Add the shallots, garlic and ginger to the pan once it is hot. Saute until they are just beginning to brown, add the chicken wings and pour the sauce all over the wings. Turn them several times to coat them with the sauce and leave them skin side down. Cover the pan and lower the heat to medium low. Cook them for 20 minutes turning them once during that time. Remove the cover turn them again and continue to cook for about 10 more minutes with the cover off until the sauce has reduced to a beautiful glaze. Remove the wings to a platter, pour the sauce over them and garnish with the scallions, ginger and cilantro leaves.
I like to serve them in the pan I cooked them in so everyone can get all of that great sauce and its one less thing to clean, just be careful of the hot pan. The week after I made this with the chicken wings I doubled the amount of sauce and cooked a fryer cut into eight pieces exactly the same way; it was fantastic! Try this and let me know what you think. Enjoy!