Cooking chicken wings can be a little counter-intuitive. Normally when cooking chicken, particularly the breast meat, you are constantly trying to make sure you don’t overcook it and end up with a piece of rubber.
Chicken wings however require you to to be a little brutal to get the best out of them. In this recipe we boil them first. No gentle simmer, a full on roiling boil. This tenderises the meat and removes some of the excess fat from the skin. Then we dry them out… and finally without adding any extra oil we bake them in a raging oven.
You would think the end result would be cardboard, but actually you end up with beautifully crispy skinned wings yielding soft delicious meat inside.
I like this simple sticky honey, lemon and sesame sauce on them, but also sometimes we make an Asian style dressing with lots of garlic, ginger, soy and chilli.
We don’t often see good quality wings for sale on their own round here so I tend to save them up every time I buy a whole chicken, freeze them and then dig them out when we need a wing fix.
Ingredients (for 2 people)
12 chicken wings
Juice and zest from 1 lemon
2 tsp cornflour
2 tbslp cold water
Cayenne pepper or smoked paprika, about 1/4 – 1/2 tsp
1 tbsp sesame seeds
Good quality sea salt (e.g Fleur du sel or Maldon)
Few grinds of black pepper
Cut off the wing tip and separate your wings using a sharp knife in to wingettes and drummettes. The wing tips are great when making stock.
You will end up with a pile like this:
Place the wings in a large pot and cover with cold water. Bring the pot to the boil and then continue to boil the wings for 15-20 mins.
Drain the wings through a colander and let them steam dry on a wire rack for 10 mins.
Liberally season the wings with salt, pepper and a spice of your choice. I used cayenne pepper today. We now want to dry the wings out further by placing them in the refrigerator on the wire rack for a least a couple of hours and anything up to another day.
Whilst you are waiting for the wings to dry out, make the sauce. Put the honey and lemon juice in to a small saucepan and bring to a simmer over a moderate heat. Mix the cornflour with the water in a small jug and then pour in to the saucepan whilst continually stirring the honey and lemon mix with a spatula. The mix will turn cloudy but as you continue to cook, it will then thicken and eventually turn clear again. At this stage take it off the heat and add the lemon zest. Keep at room temperature in a small bowl until you are ready to eat.
One hour before you wish to eat, heat the oven to 220C fan assisted. When the oven is really hot, spread the chicken wings out on a lined baking tray and roast them for around 40 minutes until golden and crispy.
Place the lemon sauce in to a large bowl and throw in the cooked chicken wings and the seasame seeds. Toss everything around as you would a salad and then tuck in!