A Wing Thing

I will walk miles out of my way if I hear even the faintest mumble that somewhere does good fried chicken. I used to be all about the breast and thigh but recently, as recent as my trip around the south, I have become a firm convert to the way of the wing.  I’m a fan of the whole wing.  Snap off the first bone (the bit that’s attached to the rest of the chicken just below the breast), devouring the meat with fervour; then twist the two bones out of the next section, leaving a huge chunk of meat and crispy skin – I don’t see myself as addicted to food so much as addicted to textures and this has got to be one of the most godliest of textures; then, finally, gnaw on the wing tip like a starving animal because (hopefully) the seasoning is boss.

If I ever own a restaurant or food truck serving wings, my customers would get the whole wing every time. I’d like them to feel like cavemen and women; primitive and without the airs and graces that would see them miss out on tearing a piece of meat apart with reckless abandon.

For those that share my love of deep fried poultry, here is my recipe for fried chicken. This is only the basis of a good recipe, you can build on this and add whatever herbs and spices you wish and in whatever quantities you feel right for your taste buds.

Ingredients

8 whole chicken wings
1 cup self-raising flour
2 tbsp corn flour
2 tbsp potato starch
1 tbsp paprika
2 tsp cayenne chilli powder
2 tsp thyme
2 tsp oregano
2 tsp salt
2 tsp black pepper
2 eggs, beaten
1L cooking oil (I used rapeseed)

Instructions

  1. Combine the flours, starch, and seasonings in a bowl and mix well.IMG_20170722_200042
  2. Add the wings to the bowl and mix to make sure they are well coated in the flour mixture.
  3. Put the chicken wings on a tray in the fridge for at least half an hour.  This will enable the flour to be absorbed slightly by the chicken, resulting in a better coating.IMG_20170722_110824
  4. After setting up in the fridge, remove the chicken and allow it to come to room temperature.
  5. Add the oil to a deep pan and heat over a medium-high heat.  Check the temperature by dropping a pinch of flour into the oil – if it sizzles, it’s about right.
  6. With the beaten eggs in one bowl, and the flour mixture in the other, dip the chicken in the flour making sure to coat it thoroughly, then into the egg – again making sure to coat it thoroughly and let the excess drip off, then add it back into the flour.  Make sure the chicken is entirely coated in the flour mixture.  Do this with all of the wings.IMG_20170722_201602
  7. Gently place 4 of the wings into the oil and immediately turn it down to medium heat.  Keep an eye (and nose) on the wings to make sure they don’t scorch on the bottom of the pan.  After 5 minutes flip the wings over.  After another 5 minutes, flip them back again.  After a final 5 minutes, remove them from the pan and put them onto wire rack covered in kitchen towel (a total of 15 minutes cooking time).  This will remove any excess oil.
  8. Fry the remainder of the wings.img_20170722_203133.jpg
  9. Re-season.  I know this sounds like over kill and blah, blah, blah salt content.  But trust me.  Add a pinch of salt and black pepper and your chicken will sing.
  10. If you’ve got hot sauce either drizzle some over the chicken or add some to the side of your plate for dipping.

I used the hot sauce I made in my previous post which consisted of peaches, mustard, honey, and 2 different types of chillies.  The hot sauce and fried chicken were in perfect harmony with each other.  The danger is that I’ll keep cooking this until my inevitable heart attack.

There are of course some things that you can experiment with such as brining the chicken in buttermilk (add hot sauce!) or using a different spice palette (such as flavours found in Indian or Caribbean cuisine).  You could forego the first step of letting the chicken set up in the fridge coated in flour.  You could instead apply seasonings directly to the chicken and let it marinate over night. There are a whole load of things you can do with fried chicken, it’s an incredibly versatile dish – which is why you can see it anywhere on restaurant menus from breakfast to appetisers to entrees.

How do you like your fried chicken?  Let me know in the comments below.

 

Almost Georgia Mustard.

For years I’ve been sporadically making hot sauce for friends and colleagues.  I have some regular customers who give me valuable feedback on my efforts.  They point me in the right direction if they believe there is room for improvement with the flavour or consistency of a sauce.

I love hearing this feedback.  Unfortunately, I go through phases when it comes to hot sauce making.  Often I will go for months without creating anything.

After arriving home from my travels, I decided I was going to have a go at creating some southern inspired sauces.  The first of which, a complete experiment that’s loosely inspired by Georgia mustard, I whipped up this weekend whilst watching Forrest Gump and pining over almost unbearable humidity and the beauty of Savannah.

From my very basic research – and what I experienced while in Georgia – I found that Georgia mustard is very much vinegar based.  I like to use vinegar in my sauces anyway as the vinegar acts as a preservative but this called for quantities the likes of which I had never used before.  Quantities I was also unwilling to use!  Sorry, Georgia, I know I’ve done you wrong on this one, but I’m being very careful not to call it Georgia mustard.  In fact, I’ll retract my whole statement.  This sauce is inspired by the peach state as a whole.

My original point about making sauce for others was a clumsy segue into saying that this sauce was made with one person in mind: me.  I love mustard and I love chillies.  I love sauces with a sweet tang to them.  So with that in mind I grabbed some tinned peaches, some English mustard powder, and the hottest chillies I could find in the supermarket (scotch bonnet chillies are readily available in most supermarkets in the UK and Tesco’s sells “Komodo Dragon” chillies which measure roughly 1 million on the Scoville scale).

I always start my sauces with a holy trinity of celery, bell peppers, and onions.  I then add the rest of my ingredients: garlic, chillies, peaches (and the juice from the tin which turned out to be grape), mustard powder, rice wine vinegar, salt and pepper, honey, and water. I bring this to the boil then cover it and leave it to simmer for half an hour to an hour. I blend it up with a stick blender, add a little more water to get to the consistency I require, then strain it till smooth.

Here is the glorious, golden result:

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As the sauce cooks down I am constantly checking the flavour and balancing it appropriately.

Another reason for wanting to make this sauce is that I simply love hot sauce and I enjoy it with a lot of different foods.  Sometimes a restaurant might not have any hot sauce.  It might be that the restaurant in question just doesn’t feel their food does well with it as an accompaniment.  To this I say ‘Nay! Hot sauce goes on everything!’ (or at least everything savoury).

I will be carrying this sauce around with me with immediate effect.  I know I may look odd but at least my tastebuds and chilli-pangs will be satisfied.