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Saturday, July 20

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I'm not a huge sports fan. I haven't seen a football game all season. I don't even know who is playing in this year's Super Bowl. But what I do love about the Super Bowl (besides the commercials) is the food. I love eating chili and cornbread while sipping a cold beer. And even though I don't eat them often, I also love chicken wings with the celery sticks and the blue cheese dressing.

This year I'm actually hosting a Super Bowl party (that is doubling as a baby shower, interestingly enough) and I've decided that my main food contribution will be chicken wings (it's also a potluck). It's the perfect game-day food and thankfully no one in attendance is a vegetarian. But since this is a baby shower as well, I feel a bit freer to experiment with different sauces instead of feeling stuck to traditional "Buffalo" sauce or barbecue sauce. I'm excited by some of the options I've come up with.

The other good thing about chicken wings is that they are easy to broil and still get crispy. You don't have to deep-fry them the way so many restaraunts do. You can broil them and baste them as you go, or you can marinate them in the sauce and broil them, or you can broil them and then toss them in your sauce. If you're trying to cut back on the amount of fatty chicken skin that you eat, you can also apply a coating of breadcrumbs to chicken tenders (or cut strips of chicken breast) and broil or bake them before tossing them in a sauce and serving them.

And, of course, in order to have a true chicken wing experience you have to have the blue cheese dressing (or at least another dressing) to go with the wings. So what I'll provide are four different types of wing sauces, and dressings or dipping sauces that complement the wings.

I couldn't write a column about chicken wings without including the standard Buffalo-style sauce. There are several recipes that swear they are the "original" sauce, but I've made a few modifications to get a sauce that I think is great. Since Mardi Gras is early this year I'm providing a Southern-style Bourbon Glaze sauce with a pink tarragon dressing. To go with the Malaysian Honey Wings I've come up with a tamarind and coconut cream sauce that probably isn't very traditionally Malaysian. And to go with the Italian-Style Chicken Wings there is a creamy sundried tomato dressing.

The good thing about all of these recipes is that no matter what flavors you decide to use, the preparation is the same for all of them.

Preparing the Wings
Wings usually come in packages of 4-5 pounds. This will serve eight to 10 people an appetizer-sized portion. If your wings come whole, instead of conveniently cut into three sections (with the very pointy tips of the wings likely not included in your package) you'll have to divide the wings to make them easier for cooking and eating. You'll need a heavy knife and a cutting board. Place the pointy tip in one hand and the middle section in the other and firmly snap them to separate the two pieces at the joint. Now repeat between the middle section and the meatiest section. Cut through the skin at the joints so you can see how to use the knife to cut apart the two sections without cutting through most of the joint. Trim off any extra or loose skin that may be attached. The very tips of the wings have no meat on them, however they're great for saving to make very flavorful chicken broth from. Prepare your marinade and put it in a zipper bag or sealable glass bowl and refrigerate it for at least two hours and possibly overnight.

Cooking the Wings Place an oven rack about 6-8 inches from the flame or heating element and turn your oven to broil so the oven can preheat. For ease of cleaning, cover your broiling pan in aluminum foil. Use a butter knife to cut through the foil where the drip vents are located. Remove your wings from the sauce and place them (meatier side up) on the rack so they don't touch each other. Turn the wings every 3 minutes and let them broil for about 15 minutes. If you don't have a working broiler, or if you're nervous about burning the chicken under the broiler, you can also set your oven to 375° F and let them cook for about 30 minutes. If you like, you can baste the remaining sauce on the chicken wings as they cook. If you decide that you'd like to pour the leftover marinade over the wings when you finish cooking them, simply place the sauce in a small saucepan and bring it to a boil for 1 minute or cook it in the microwave till it is bubbly. This should kill any nastiness that might make you sick.

Buffalo Chicken Wings
4-5 pounds of chicken wings
salt and pepper
1/2 stick of butter or margarine
1/4 cup of Tabasco or Louisana-style hot sauce
1 tablespoon of apple cider vinegar

After cutting apart the chicken wings, spread them flat and sprinkle them lightly with salt and pepper on each side. Place the wings in a glass bowl or in a plastic zipper bag. In a saucepan over medium-low heat combine the butter, hot sauce and vinegar. Stir it frequently and remove it from the heat once the butter has melted and everything is stirred together. Pour the sauce over the chicken and stir to coat evenly. Seal and place in the refrigerator. If marinating overnight, turn the bag or stir occasionally to create more evenly-flavored chicken.

Blue Cheese Dressing
3/4 cup of sour cream
1 1/4 cups of mayonnaise
1 teaspoon of Worcestershire sauce
1/2 teaspoon of garlic powder
1 teaspoon of apple cider vinegar
1/2 teaspoon of salt
4 ounces of crumbled blue cheese

Place all of the ingredients into a glass or ceramic bowl. Stir or whisk to blend. Refrigerate for at least one hour before serving and preferably overnight to let the flavors merge. If the dressing is too thick add a small amount of milk to thin.

Bourbon-Glazed Chicken Wings
4-5 pounds of chicken wings
salt and pepper
1 cup bourbon
2/3 cup honey
2/3 cup ketchup
2 tablespoons of molasses (or 1/4 cup of brown sugar)

After cutting apart the chicken wings, spread them flat and sprinkle them lightly with salt and pepper on each side. Place a small saucepan over medium-low heat and add all of the ingredients. Stir constantly until the molasses or brown sugar has dissolved into the sauce. Pour the sauce over the chicken and stir to coat evenly. Seal and place in the refrigerator. If marinating overnight, turn the bag or stir occasionally to create more evenly-flavored chicken.

Pink Tarragon Dressing
3/4 cup of sour cream
1 1/4 cup of mayonnaise
1/2 cup of port or sherry wine (good stuff — don't use cooking grade)
2 tablespoons of finely minced fresh tarragon or 1 tablespoon of dried tarragon
1 teaspoon of garlic powder
3-4 dashes of tabasco sauce
add 1-3 drops of red food coloring if you used sherry (or if a very pink sauce is desired)

Place all of the ingredients into a glass or ceramic bowl. Stir or whisk to blend. Refrigerate for at least one hour before serving and preferably overnight to let the flavors merge. If the dressing is too thick add a small amount of milk to thin.

Malaysian Turmeric and Honey Wings
The anonymous writer at Rasa Malaysia wrote this next recipe (I've simply multiplied the ingredients for a larger batch of wings) and actually inspired this entire column. This is the first dish of hers that I've had the courage to try, but thanks to following her blog for a while I'm starting to get a feel for how the cuisines for the three main cultures in Malaysia (Chinese, Indian and native Malay) are combined to create unique dishes reminiscent of their base cuisine.

4-5 pounds of chicken wings
1/4 cup of honey
1/4 cup of soy sauce
1/2 teaspoon of salt
1/2 teaspoon of turmeric powder
1/2 teaspoon of chili powder
8 inches of ginger, peeled off

Prepare the ginger by pounding with a mortar and pestle or grinding with small food processor. Extract the juice by squeezing with your hand and discard the pulp. (I used a porcelain ginger grater to grate the ginger and then I wrapped the pulp in a few layers of cheesecloth and squeezed the ball over a bowl to extract the juice. If you like, you can soak the ball of ginger pulp in a pot of hot water to make ginger tea.)

Combine the rest of the ingredients into the bowl with the ginger water and stir to combine. You can heat the bowl slightly in the microwave to make the honey easier to stir if necessary. Pour the sauce over the chicken and stir to coat evenly. Seal and place in the refrigerator. If marinating overnight, turn the bag or stir occasionally to create more evenly-flavored chicken.

Coconut Cream Dipping Sauce
This recipe can not be blamed on anything I've found at Rasa Malaysia. It just sounded like a good complement.

1 can of unsweetened coconut milk
1 tablespoon of white wine or champagne vinegar (I found a bottle of sweetened Silver Swan coconut vinegar that works really well.)
1/2 teaspoon of ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon of chile powder
1 tablespoon of tamarind paste
salt to taste

Place all of the ingredients into a glass or ceramic bowl. Stir or whisk to blend. Refrigerate for at least one hour before serving and preferably overnight to let the flavors merge. If the dressing is too thick add a small amount of milk or water to thin.

Italian chicken Wings
4-5 pounds of chicken wings
salt and pepper
3/4 cup of unflavored tomato sauce
1 tablespoons of crushed red pepper flakes
3 cloves of minced garlic

After cutting apart the chicken wings, spread them flat and sprinkle them lightly with salt and pepper on each side. Place the wings in a glass bowl or in a plastic zipper bag. In a saucepan over medium-low heat combine the tomato sauce, pepper flakes and garlic. Stir it frequently and remove it from the heat once it begins to boil. Pour the sauce over the chicken and stir to coat evenly. Seal and place in the refrigerator. If marinating overnight, turn the bag or stir occasionally to create more evenly-flavored chicken. (I highly recommend marinating this overnight to maximize the flavor. A short soak will not be as flavorful.)

Breading 1 cup of bread crumbs (if Italian flavored are used, skip the following ingredients except for the parmesan cheese)
3-4 tablespoons of parmesan cheese
1 teaspoon of garlic powder
1 teaspoon of onion powder
1 teaspoon of dried basil
1 teaspoon of dried oregano
1 teaspoon of dried parsley

Combine all of the ingredients in a bowl. Using one hand for the wet ingredients and one hand for dry ingredients place the chicken wings in the breadcrumbs and stir or shake to coat. Lay the chicken flat on the roasting pan and cook as directed above.

Sun-dried Tomato Cream Dressing
1 1/2 cups of sour cream
1/2 cup of mayonnaise
2 tablespoons of dried basil (or 4 tablespoons of fresh basil)
2 tablespoons of minced sun-dried tomatoes
salt or lemon juice to taste

Place all of the ingredients into a glass or ceramic bowl. Stir or whisk to blend. Refrigerate for at least one hour before serving and preferably overnight to let the flavors merge. If the dressing is too thick add a small amount of milk to thin.

With just a little creativity, a traditional game-day snack can be altered to fulfill both the urge for the expected but prevent boredom. I'll be serving these on Sunday and will ask my friends to let me know which are the favorites and I'll report back next week. Until then, feel free to share your own recipe for the food you'll be making to eat during The Big Game.

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Comments

Bobbi / January 29, 2008 11:43 AM

I'm not really a wing fan, but I might be now! These sound really delicious, Cinnamon.

 

About the Author(s)

Cinnamon Cooper is an untrained cook. Most of what she's learned has been by accident. The rest has been gained by reading cookbooks, watching The Food Network and by scouring the Internet. Oh, and she also hates following recipes but loves the irony of writing them down for others to follow.

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