02 March, 2008

chicken wings: A Cautionary Tale



















Nearly forgot: one thing I discovered (sadly during John's mom's visit, so she had to suffer through it) during my cooking extravaganza over break: NEVER, EVER buy chicken wings with the skin removed. Or, let me rephrase that: you may BUY them, but do not COOK them. Use them as sculpture, or doorstops, or cat food. But do not ruin my lovely recipe for slow-cooked wings by not noticing that the butcher from whom you bought them has gone to all the trouble to remove all the skin. John looked at them dubiously and said, "But isn't the whole point of chicken wings the skin?" I was foolish enough to contradict him, and I paid the price. Dry, dry, dry. So to underscore this basic tenet of cookery, I am reproducing here my most favourite way to prepare the wings. Skin, skin, skin!

Slow-Cooked Chicken Wings with Blue Cheese Dressing
(serves four)


2 dozen chicken wings
1/3 cup each: maple syrup, chilli sauce, tomato juice, black treacle
2 tbsps sesame oil
juice of 1 lime
4 cloves garlic, minced
small knob ginger, peeled and minced

Mix all the marinade ingredients in a large ziplock bag and toss the wings in, making sure they are adequately coated. Set aside for as long as you like in the fridge. If you're like me and have a very crowded fridge, the bag method is best, rather than trying to find room for a large Pyrex bowl as I used to do with my satisfyingly massive American fridge (one of two in my kitchen, I weep to say). With a bag you can squish it around and make room.

Line a baking dish with aluminum foil and bake the wings in a slow-ish oven (325f, 160c, about) for at least an hour and a half. You can turn your oven even lower and cook them longer. Turn at least once. Serve with:

Blue Cheese Dressing
(serves lots)


1/3 cup sour cream
3/4 cup homemade mayonnaise (recipe below)
1/2 tsp Worcestershire sauce
dash garlic powder
dash salt
dash black pepper
3 ounces blue cheese, crumbled

Mix all ingredients well with a whisk, then fold in crumbled blue cheese. Chill.

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Homemade Mayonnaise
(makes one cup)


1 egg yolk
1/4 tsp salt
pinch cayenne
pinch white pepper
pinch dry mustard
juice of half lemon
1 cup olive oil

With a wire whisk, beat egg yolk with salt, cayenne, pepper and mustard until thick and yellow as a lemon. Then add half the lemon juice slowly and beat again. Now, one drop at a time for about a minute, add olive oil. Then after the first minute, a steady but TINY stream of oil will do, whisking constantly until the oil is used up. Now whisk in remaining lemon juice slowly. Chill, and enjoy. And ask yourself: how do they get commercial mayo to be so... white? Doesn't make sense. One of those life mysteries.

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Ah well, one cannot know what one hasn't learned. But there's no point in YOUR learning from experience when you can learn from MINE. Seriously!

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