September 14, 2015

Fast-beating chicken wings

You know how the tag line on this blog is thoughts on food, love and life? Well, I think I should add weather. Because I realize a lot of my food, love and life energy goes to what's happening outside.

I love outside. Well, except this weekend when a cold front swept in and vacuumed up summer in a whirl of wind, rain and blasts of cold. Admittedly, I think I heard all the plants sigh with relief. The grass relaxed and the dried up straw that had replaced the grassy park hills were re-invigorated this morning when I walked the dog.  And the collected puddles of water at the bottom of the hills were a perfect target for some doggy swirling and mud bathing. Sigh.

This morning summer is back for another gentle phase. Which put me in mind of another summer recipe, or actually two recipes at once - although it's perfect for any time of year.

I am synthesizing two recipes today. Oven roasted chicken wings - and my husband's spice rub that elevates the wings to a new height. Get it? Wings? Height?

Earlier this year I was looking for a faster way to cook chicken wings rather than my go-to maple-ginger-garlic chicken wings, which are fantastic, but need three hours in the marinade. As usual, I had hit the end of my work day having lost track of time and needed to cook up the planned chicken wings - which in my go-to mode would have had us eating with the late night news.

To google! And up came Michael Smith's roast chicken wings on the Food Network Canada site.

The key is cornstarch, mixed with your favourite rub. Of course do not do what I did the first time - I read cornstarch but reached for the baking soda. And no, I didn't notice until they were on our plates. Fortunately, I dug my teeth in first. And choked. It was like eating sea water. I grabbed Steve's plate and mine and headed for the compost bin. Wing fail. Low altitude crash and burn. We ordered pizza.

Next time I got it. And I've gotten it ever since, multiple times.

You can use any spice rub or even an herb mixture if you prefer. But I'll give you another round of Steve's spice rub (which I'd take to a desert island) that was one of the first recipes I posted 9 years ago (wow!).

I'll give you ratios and you can make the batch as big or small as you like and you can store whatever you don't use. This works on chicken, but also anything else from beef and roasted potatoes.

Steve's Rub

1 part chili powder
1 part brown sugar
1 part black pepper
2 parts kosher salt
Healthy dose of paprika

Mix together. Done.

Now...for the chicken wings

12 chicken wings
2 tbsp cornstarch
1 tbsp sugar (feel free to adjust this as there is sugar in the spice rub)
1 tsp salt
1 tbsp favourite spice rub (I added more rub mix - the recipe calls for 1 tsp)
1 tsp pepper

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Mix the dry ingredients in a big bowl (big enough to add the wings). Add the wings to the bowl, a few at a time, and toss. Place them on the baking sheet. Bake for 30 minutes. Turn the wings over. Bake for another 30 minutes.

I always think it's going to be all cornstarch-y and can't believe it's going to work this time...but it always comes through - unless I've used baking soda. Duh.

While they're in the oven I usually strain some yogurt to thicken it and add whatever flavours I like - lemon zest, garlic, herbs, salt and pepper. That becomes a dip for all the vegetables I cut up as finger food.

This is a perfect football dinner. And yes that other chicken wings recipe was written for the Super Bowl a few years ago when the Ravens won.

And this year, I got to try on Cameron's Super Bowl ring - they gave one to every employee (not all of them choose to do that). Yet another highlight of 2015.

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