Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Chicken Wings

The playing of the merry organ; sweet singing in the choir
Perhaps you're thinking that chicken wings are a bit plebeian, even a bit déclassé, for someone with such refined tastes as moi, but then perhaps you've never been treated to the sight of me coming downstairs in the middle of the night and grabbing a carton of ice cream and a spoon and sitting in the den and turning on Iron Chef and having to.

Now that I've given you a reason to have nightmares, let me add that messy finger food is a good thing to serve at a party. It is difficult to be dignified and aloof when you're eating a chicken wing, and dignity and aloofness have no place at a party. I will not go so far as to suggest that suggestively eating a chicken wing will get you someone's phone number but only because I believe that if you want someone's phone number, the best way to get it is to ask him. The morning after our party, V. got an email from his friend B. saying that he wanted to email my friend B. whom he'd met at the party, but that he didn't want to email B. if B. wasn't interested in B. So V. passed this on to me, and I sent an email to B. explaining the situation, and B. said that it would really have been simpler if B. had asked B. for B.'s email address or phone number at the party, and of course I had to agree with B. (but not with B.); apparently, even getting a master's degree is no guarantee that you won't find yourself back in high school.

Anyway. Everyone, except perhaps the vegetarians, should know how to make chicken wings: you never know when you might need to feed the masses at a Super Bowl party. There are a number of different methods of chicken wing preparation. Some involve deep frying. Some involve marinating. Mine involves neither, but I thought the results were pretty good. You can make almost any amount of wings with this method. I bought a ten-pound bag of wings at Costco, so that's how many I made, but you can certainly make a saner quantity. On the other hand, leftover wings do make a very interesting entree for a Monday night dinner, even if you're not watching the game.

Chicken Wings

Chicken Wings
1 cup soy sauce
2 t. grated ginger*
5 cloves garlic, smashed
1/2 t. red pepper flakes
1/4 cup fresh lime juice
1/4 cup orange juice
1/4 cup rice wine vinegar
1 cup honey
Ground black pepper

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees. Place your chicken wings in a single layer on one or more half-sheet pans. Bake them for about twenty minutes.

In a saucepan, combine the remaining ingredients and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and let cook while the wings are baking.

Take the wings out of the oven, and turn it down to 350. If there are chicken juices on the sheet pans, pour them into the sauce. Dip the wings into the sauce for a few seconds (or longer), then return them to the pan(s). Return the pan(s) to the oven for another twenty minutes.

Continue cooking the sauce until it thickens. Remove the wings from the oven, and either dip them again, or brush some of the sauce on top of them, and put them back into the oven until they're done. You can thicken the sauce further and brush them another time if you like.

If you like your wings spicy, then you might want to slice a hot pepper or two into the sauce when you're starting it. The half-teaspoon of red pepper flakes really doesn't make them anything like spicy.

The sauce in this recipe will be too salty to use as a dipping sauce. The wings are fine without additional sauce, but you can make or buy any sort of sauce you like to serve with them.

You can also, of course, use any sort of sauce you like in place of the sauce I used. And you can marinate the wings before you bake them, though in that case, you might want to use a sightly slower oven to avoid burning and bitterness. The wings I made, though they were well flavored, were very lightly coated in sauce. If you want a thicker coating of sauce and even more messiness in consumption, then marinate with a thicker sauce and cook at 350 for about an hour.

*I now keep my ginger in the freezer, which makes it last much longer and makes it a snap to grate since the little grated bits stay solid and don't cling to the grater. I got that idea from her (or possibly from her, but in the income tax field we have something called constructive ownership, which essentially means that the sins of the mother are visited upon the daughter and vice versa, so I reckon they can both take credit).


Blogger David said...

I've been terribly delinquent in visiting your blog, a thousand pardons.

I wish I had more time to cook, so many of these recipes sound fun and doable.

But I've not even figured out when I can make my holiday cookies. December 25 is looking better and better as the target day.

10:25 PM  

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