Taste Scene

Michael Devlin

When food gives you wings


I have finally mastered exceptional chicken wings. I can’t remember if I’ve spoke about chicken wings recently or not so A). If I can’t remember you probably won’t either. And B). Discard any previous recipes for chicken wings on account of these ones being the best ever.

My penchant for chicken wings stems from an exceptional portion I devoured when I was away on me hols this year. It was in a restaurant in Ballina called Dillon’s and the only reason we had visited was because they had scored top marks on Tripadvisor. According to travellers, Dillon’s is the best restaurant in the whole of Ballina. So now you know.

You’ll also be happy to note however that truly mighty chicken wings are perfectly achievable at home, with a little diligence and preparation.

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I’ve tried these both ways – deep frying and also shallow frying – and on last Saturday night’s evidence, the latter takes the title. They were beyond exceptional: Succulent yet crispy on the outside and with a coating of barbecue sauce and a dip of blue cheese, they are arguably the best things you could eat with a beer (and a large quantity of napkins. To be honest, I felt as though I needed hosed down after my five wings at the weekend).

Whilst they’re not exactly foolproof, they’re damn close. So if you have friends coming round this weekend and you want to having them “ooo-ing” and “aaa-ing” whilst simultaneously smearing sauce all over their faces and hands, these chicken wings are perfect.

INGREDIENTS
• rapeseed oil for frying
• cup of plain flour (or gluten free flour)
• 1 tsp of smoked paprika
• 1 tsp of sweet paprika
• half a tsp of cayenne pepper
• one dozen chicken wings
• half a bottle of Red’s Unholy Barbecue Sauce
• tbsp of butter
• tsp of honey

BLUECHEESE DIP
• two tbsps o f creme fraiche
• 1 tbsp of mayo
• half a clove of garlic, grated
• juice of half a lemon or lime (I’ve tried them both and they both work)
• tbsp of crumbled blue cheese (Stilton, Roquefort etc…)

THE PLAN
Start by prepping the wings. Cut off the tips if they’re still attached and then half the wings with a sharp knife. The more you do this the easier it becomes.

Add an inch of oil to a large frying pan and bring to a medium hot temperature. If you have a cooking thermometer this should read 190˚C.

As that’s happening mix the flour with the spices and then dredge the wings, knocking off any excess. Cook these in at least two batches, for 15 minutes a time, turning now and then until they’re golden brown and irresistible looking.
As the chicken is browning, make the hot sauce and the blue cheese dip.

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For the hot sauce, add the Red’s Unholy, the butter and the honey to a small pan and bring to a bubble, stirring as you go. Don’t let it thicken too much because you want it to coat the wings.

For the blue cheese, add the creme fraiche, the mayo, garlic, the lemon or lime juice and the crumbled cheese to a bowl and ideally blend with a hand blender. If you don’t have one of these, mush with a fork for a few minutes then whisk. Taste for seasoning and add a touch of salt and a few grinds of black pepper.

When the wings are done, add two thirds of the barbecue sauce to a bowl, add the wings and toss in the sauce until they’re completely coated. Retain the remaining sauce as an extra dip.

These are best eaten good and hot and the chicken should be falling off the bone. Don’t forget to dip in the blue cheese! “Oooo… Aaaaa.”

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