Are you part of the chicken wing cult?

in Food & Wine · 22-05-2020 01:00:00 · 1 Comments
Are you part of the chicken wing cult?

There's something immensely tactile about eating chicken wings. The deep orange of Buffalo sauce streaking your forearms, nubbly, crispy bits of fried coating to nibble off, a stack of stripped wings piling ever higher in a basket in front of you.

"People who love chicken wings are crazy for chicken wings," says Ben Ford, one half of street food chicken wing outfit and restaurant, Wingmans. "It's a cult," adds his co-founder David Turofsky.

They've known each other since they were kids growing up in north London, but started working together after Turofsky returned from a year ostensibly studying in America. In fact, says Ford with a laugh, "he came back with this fiendish appetite for chicken wings." "And buffalo sauce, generally," adds Turofsky, proudly.

The timing was ideal. "I was looking for a break," says Ford, who has a background in food, "and David was looking for someone who could cook."

In June 2015, they embarked upon their first festival, British Summertime, leaping from a "no trading history to one of the biggest summer festivals in London," remembers Ford. "We had a very sleepless 11 days - five guys cramped into the back of an Airstream trailer - learning what it was to run a street food business."

"Everyone loves chicken, particularly wings!" buzzes Turofsky.

"When you get a good wing, and it's got the right crunch-to-meat ratio..." ruminates Ford. "It's got a nice crispy outside skin and juicy flesh..."

The key to great wings, they argue, is to follow in the great American tradition and toss them in sauce. "It's huge in America," says Ford. "You order wings, they toss the wings in the sauce, they serve them in a bucket or a basket - and no one here was doing that." Sauce is crucial.

If you're more used to ordering a bucket of wings than snipping wing-tips, marinating and deep-frying your own at home though, Turofsky's top tip, jovially yelled down the phone, is to "cook with love!"

On the more practical side, Ford recommends, as you're cooking meat on the bone, you invest in a meat thermometer. It'll help you get the oil you're frying in, and the chicken you're eating, up to the correct temperature. "Make sure there's clear running juices, and no blood on the bone," he adds.

Remember to cook safely, too. "For people who don't have a mini deep-fat fryer at home, frying in oil in a saucepan can be dangerous at times," says Ford, "so we suggest making sure you have a big enough pan and you're not over-filling it."

Sauce and combo wise, Turofsky says "don't be afraid to experiment" either.

"Even if it doesn't quite work," chips in Ford, "you still have a portion of chicken wings in front of you." And there's not much wrong to be found with that.


Beijing Block Party chicken burger recipe

Ingredients:

(Serves 4)

4 skinless, boneless chicken breasts

Oil, for brushing

125ml Roasted Sesame Dressing (see below)

Salt and black pepper

For the Asian slaw:

1 cucumber

200g daikon

1 large carrot

2 spring onions

30g fresh coriander leaves

100ml rice wine vinegar

50g caster sugar

2tsp sesame oil

For the Shanghai mayo:

50ml Shanghai Sauce (see below)

150ml Japanese mayonnaise (or just mayo)

For the garnish:

4 seeded brioche buns, halved

1 baby gem lettuce, leaves separated

100g crushed roasted peanuts

A few sprigs of fresh coriander, chopped

4tsp togarashi spice blend

For the Roasted Sesame Dressing:

Makes 500ml. Blend all of the ingredients together, loosen with water if needed, sieve to remove sesame seed husks. Season. Store in the fridge in a closed container and use within five days.

400ml mayonnaise

250g black or white sesame seeds, toasted

50ml mirin

25ml apple juice

1tbsp sesame oil

25ml rice wine vinegar

Salt and black pepper

For the Shanghai Sauce:

Makes 500ml. Combine all of the ingredients in a saucepan and boil. Once bubbling remove from the heat and leave to infuse. Strain into a suitable container and close. Store in the fridge and use within seven days.

200ml dark soy sauce

200ml light soy sauce

100g honey

100g soft dark brown sugar

50ml sesame oil

100ml rice vinegar or distilled vinegar

1/2 head of garlic, roughly chopped

50g fresh root ginger, peeled and roughly chopped

Bunch of coriander stalks, chopped

Bunch of spring onions, white ends only, roughly chopped

Method:

1. Shred all the slaw vegetables and coriander into long, thin strips. Mix the vinegar with the sugar and sesame oil until the sugar has dissolved. Pour over the slaw, add a pinch of salt and allow to sit and soften slightly.

2. Stir the Shanghai sauce into the mayo and keep chilled. Preheat a griddle pan over a high heat. Butterfly the chicken breasts and brush with oil. Heavily season with salt and pepper. Add the chicken to the griddle pan. Once the chicken has changed colour around the edges, flip over and brush with some of the sesame dressing. Continue to brush with the dressing and turn until fully cooked and golden, and the core temperature is 75oC.

3. Toast the buns and spoon a little of the Shanghai mayo on the bottom half. Add a lettuce leaf and the grilled chicken. Top with the slaw and add more sesame dressing. Sprinkle over the crushed peanuts, coriander and togarashi.


The Honey Monster chicken wings recipe

Ingredients:

(Serves 4)

1.25kg chicken wings, tip removed, drums and flat separated

2tsp celery salt

2tsp ground white pepper

1tsp freshly ground black pepper

2tsp garlic granules

2tsp salt

For the sauce:

200g golden caster sugar

100g honey

Zest of 21/2 lemons

Large piece of fresh root ginger, peeled and thinly sliced

2 large shallots, finely chopped

75g butter

Black pepper, to taste

Method:

1. In a large bowl combine the wings with the dry spices and let marinate in the fridge for at least one hour or up to four hours - keep chilled until ready to cook.

2. Preheat the oven to 180oC Gas 4. In a small saucepan bring 150ml water to the boil with the sugar. Add the honey, zest of two lemons and the ginger to the syrup. Allow to reduce slightly until the syrup takes on both flavours. Sieve the syrup into a clean container.

3. Soften the shallots in a small pan with the butter. Pour the syrup onto the softened shallots and mix together. Line up the wings on a wire rack over a baking sheet and bake for 15 minutes.

4. After 15 minutes, brush the wings with the glaze and continue to cook, applying fresh glaze every five minutes for a further 15 minutes. Reserve some glaze to serve.

5. Put the wings in a bowl and toss with a little reserved glaze ensuring they are fully coated.

6. Arrange in a serving dish and garnish with the remaining lemon zest and five to 10 twists of black pepper.


Szechuan salt and pepper chicken wings recipe

Ingredients:

(Serves 4)

1.25kg chicken wings, tip removed, drums and flat separated

2tsp celery salt

2tsp white pepper

1tsp black pepper

150ml buttermilk

250g cornflour

50g rice flour

2 or 3L vegetable or rapeseed oil, for cooking

2tbsp Szechuan seasoning

For the garnish:

Vegetable oil, for frying

2 fresh red chillies, finely sliced

Bunch of spring onions, green tops only, finely shredded

1 green pepper, deseeded and diced

A few curry leaves

A few sprigs of fresh coriander or cress

Method:

1. In a large bowl combine the wings with the dry spices and the buttermilk. Let marinate in the fridge for at least one hour or up to four hours. Combine the two flours and set aside. Drain the wings from the excess marinade and toss through the flour - keep chilled until ready to cook.

2. Preheat a deep fryer to 180°C. Place the wings in the basket and lower slowly into the fryer.

3. Cook for seven or eight minutes ensuring they hit 75°C at the core of the thickest part of the wing and the juices run clear. If they don't hit 75°C after the first eight minutes just carry on cooking for a further minute.

4. Heat some oil for the garnish in a wok and fry the chillies, spring onions, green pepper and curry leaves for a couple of minutes until crispy.

5. Pile the wings high on a plate, dust with the Szechuan seasoning and garnish with the fried chillies, spring onions, green pepper and curry leaves. Top with the coriander.

Wings And Things: Lip-smacking Chicken Recipes by David Turofsky and Ben Ford, photography by Dan Jones, is published by Quadrille.



Comments:

After living in the USA for over 20 years and I have sampled wings in a variety of sports bars in numerous States with different sauces and I can still say “I don’t get it!”. Wings, who wants to end up with the wings at Christmas or Thanksgiving?, usually legs or breast are premium. The Americans are great are creating a business out of nothing and convincing the RoW to adopt it. Btw the advent of Buffalo Wild Wings and other fast dining chains, the “boneless” wing is now all the rage!

by Stuart from Algarve on 22-05-2020 06:24:00
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