The first time I tried chicken wings, I was hooked. It was 35 years ago and we had taken our children to Art Park, across the border in Lewiston, New York. Art Park is a marvelous resource for families with live theatre, story-telling and craft areas.
On this particular occasion, we stopped for dinner at Apple Granny – a restaurant still to be found in Lewiston – and we ordered chicken wings. What arrived was a plate of perfectly cooked wings smothered in a rich red, spicy sauce. Delicious! I asked the chef how he made it and he cheerfully shared his recipe. It’s remarkably easy.
I’m not sure Apple Granny still makes wings the same way; indeed, there are as many recipes for chicken wings as there are restaurants serving them. I recently had a delicious version made with blue cheese at McCarthy’s in Buffalo. But let me recommend you try this. It’s delicious and has the virtue of being incredibly easy. If you love blue cheese, you can sprinkle it on top as McCarthy’s has done.
The chef at Apple Granny didn’t offer a recipe for pre-cooking the wings but here’s a surprising method that enables you to have crispy wings without deep frying them. These are baked in the oven.
Start with 2 kg of wings. Cut each wing into two parts. Dry well and place in a large plastic bag. Add 2 tablespoons baking powder and 1 teaspoon salt. Close the bag tightly and shake well.
Preheat the oven to 275F. Line a baking tray with foil and brush the rack with oil. Place the wings on the rack, skin side up. Bake on the lowest shelf in the oven for 30 minutes.
Move the tray up to the highest shelf and turn the oven up to 425F. Bake for another 40 to 50 minutes. Rotate the tray after 20 minutes but don’t turn the wings over. They will turn golden brown and the skin will be very crisp.
While they cook, cut celery and carrots into sticks. We were never very keen on the Blue Cheese dip but if you must, the easiest method is to buy Blue Cheese dressing or look up a recipe on the net.
The wing sauce is the easiest part. In a saucepan melt 3 tbsp butter. Add equal parts Durkee Frank’s Hot Sauce and your favourite prepared barbeque sauce (I like Diana’s). I suggest 1/4 cup of each. Bring to a boil and set aside. Toss the wings straight from the oven in the sauce and be prepared for praise.
BTW Do you know the origin of Buffalo style chicken wings? Check here for this and more surprising things about Buffalo.