Sunday, 8 June 2014

Chicken Wings

I've just noticed that my last post on here was March. That is so rubbish - sorry. Truth be told, I've been stuck in a rut of "same old, same old" dinners, and haven't really been experimenting or feeling the love for a while.

I did, however, some time ago, buy a packet of chicken wings. Now, these are CHEAP as chips, literally - a pack of twelve from your local supermarket usually comes in well under €3.50. The weather reports were good and I was planning a BBQ and knew the DinnerGirls (they're not babies anymore!) would love them. But that left me with half a pack of chicken wings taking up an enormous amount of space (it's a big container) in my poor freezer.  So I had a thought to do "fancy" chicken wings... I was thinking along the lines of the spicy, vinegar-y wings you get in the Dublin restaurant "Elephant and Castle" (if you've ever been there, you've almost certainly had the wings - they are their "thing"). 

The recipe however, is elusive. The restaurant guard it as "A SECRET" and will not divulge. I remember, years ago, I did read a recipe for them. It was in a book that accompanied a radio show I listen to - the "Fixit Friday" slot on Ray D'Arcy's show on TodayFM. Unfortunately my copy of the book (which lived in my bathroom) did not not survive the great flood 2010 - caused by over enthusiastic bathing and general high jinx from the then DinnerBabies in the bath.

Endless Google searches with various permutations of the terms (fixit / Ray Darcy - various spellings / chicken wings / elephant & castle) produced lots of references but no actual recipe. And then I had a brainwave. Email the "Fixit Friday" helpdesk! The show is still going strong, they still run their Friday morning slot, so perfect! And thank you a million to both Jenny Kelly and Martin McGuire from TodayFM; Jenny read my email out on Friday morning and Martin provided the recipe. I took the chicken wings out of the freezer, although it took me til today (Sunday) to make them. My word, readers - SO WORTH IT!

Needless to say, as with my first time making anything, I went a tiny bit astray (I really should not have taken a phone call at the crucial moment) but they were really, really good. And I know they are only at 85% good; next time I make them, they will be epic! These are the perfect nibbly starter to serve if you are planning a summer BBQ - go for it. Don't worry about the amount of butter... yes, it's a lot, but these are a treat and you won't be eating them daily! 

As my sauce split a bit, I am stealing TodayFM's photo, and you can find their recipe right here. I've also posted it below, for your benefit.

TodayFM's Spicy Chicken WingsServes 4

  •  1 pack of chicken wings (about 12 in the pack)
  • ½ pound butter
  •  2 tablespoons of cider vinegar (DL note: I used white wine vinegar, it was fine)
  •  Tabasco sauce; to taste (recipe suggests at least half a bottle, I had slightly under half a small bottle in my store cupboard, I'd be more generous in future)
  1. Split the wing into two at the joint – the mini drumstick and the oval shaped part
  2. Deep fry until extra extra crispy (DL note: I just baked them at 180C for 20-25 mins)
  3. In a saucepan, melt the butter on a low heat, addthe vinegar and then plenty of Tabasco sauce
  4. Stir until the mixture takes on that glossy, almost luminous orangey glow (DL note: I let m sauce go too far and it split - it was still gorgeous, but it didn't coat the wings so well as a result. Keep an eye - and don't answer the phone!)
  5. Toss each batch of fresh wings in the mixture and serve with sticks of celery; if you like that sort of thing (DL: and I do!) and a Blue Cheese Dip.

Blue Cheese Dip is simply:

  • 1 cup of sour cream
  • ½ cup of mayonnaise
  • 1 clove of garlic, crushed
  • 1 tablespoon of cider vinegar
  • A good squeeze of lemon juice
  • ½ cup of blue cheese; crumbled
  • Chopped parsley
Again, I had to improvise a little. I used the proportions above, but I used creme fraiche instead of sour cream, and only about a third of the clove of garlic (it was a big clove, and I didn't want it to take over). The blue cheese I used was Cashel Blue - I'm not the biggest blue cheese lover in the world, but this sauce is marvellous with wings, and the blue taste is very subtle. I had no parsley.

I would suggest that you also serve with a big pack of baby wipes - total messy gorgeousness!

Anyhow, the most important thing is that they were totally DELICIOUS, and I will definitely make them again. And again. And again.

Sarah xx