The chicken wing trend is swooping the nation and it's time you got involved
Chicken wings: no longer are they just the sad leftovers at an 80s-themed cold buffet. They've had a gourmet makeover. Hot, sticky and ridiculously flavoursome, these beauties are super-tasty, quick and bang on trend.
Why? Good question. They're part of the US fast-food trend that's gathering pace over here. Hands up now – who hasn't spent their weekends dribbling Dr Pepper-doused pulled pork down our chins while lusting over smoky barbecue mac 'n' cheese?
Not sure the wing is your thing? Be brave. Since our first crisp-fried buffalo wing experience – named after the town in New York the sauce is from – we've been die-hard fans. Battered, fried or baked, they're the holy grail of snack food, often gracefully carrying the flavour of Korean barbecue or Jamaican jerk.
High-end fried chicken joints such as CHICKENliquor (MEATliquor's finger-lickin’ relative) Wishbone and Chicken Shop have been creeping across London while their more street-foodie cousins like Orange Buffalo hold the fort in Brighton.
Richard and Andy of the famous Randy’s Wing Bar (see what they did there?) took a break from running their legendary east London set-up to give us their top tips on how to make some awesome wings at home …
Randy’s baked wings with blue cheese dip
Richard says: "My dad was a chicken farmer and it always upset me how much of the chicken was thrown away. In the US the culture is much more bone-friendly. This typical buffalo wing recipe is the one I first fell in love with when visiting the US and is a staple on our menu."
- 12 good-sized chicken wings
- 4 tbsp coarse stoneground flour
- 1 tsp paprika
- 100ml cayenne-based hot sauce, such as Frank's RedHot or Tabasco
- 1 clove of garlic, minced
- 1 tsp English mustard
- 50g butter
- 150g of any blue cheese
- 250ml crème fraîche
- half a bunch of chives, finely chopped
- 6 celery sticks, chopped into halves
- pepper to season
- Joint the chicken wings using a knife or cleaver to create the mini drumstick and the mid-wing. Also remove the wing tips to discard or keep for stock later.
- Salt the wings for 15 minutes to draw out any moisture.
- Meanwhile, season the flour with teaspoon of salt, pepper and paprika.
- Once seasoned, dredge the wings in the flour and lay out in a single layer on a plate. If possible, leave the wings in the fridge overnight or at least for a few hours to draw out more moisture.
- Pre-heat the oven to 220˚C / fan 200˚C / gas 7 and dredge the wings one last time before knocking off any excess flour. Arrange in one layer on a baking tray and then bake for 25 minutes, until crispy and golden.
- Knock up the hot sauce by melting the butter in a saucepan along with the garlic, English mustard and cayenne pepper sauce.
- Make the blue cheese dressing by blitzing the blue cheese with crème fraîche in a food processor. Fold through the chives at the end.
- Once the wings are ready, remove from the oven and toss them, again, in the hot sauce mixture.
- Serve immediately with the blue cheese dressing and a garnish of celery sticks; use these to scoop up the remaining dip.
Super quick Asian-style wings
- 12 good-sized chicken wings
- 3 tbsp smooth peanut butter
- 2 tbsp soy sauce
- 4 tbsp sweet chilli sauce
- Spring onions, sliced
- Black sesame seeds
- 1 lime
- Like the buffalo wings, joint the wings into three pieces and discard the tips or keep them for stock.
- Either deep fry the wings at 200°C for 6-8 minutes or roast at 220°C / fan 180°C / gas 6 for 25 minutes in the oven.
- Meanwhile, mix together the smooth peanut butter, soy sauce and sweet chilli sauce in a bowl.
- Whether you roasted or fried them, when the wings are cooked through, toss them in the sauce and put them in the oven for two minutes to turn the sauce into a glaze.
- Top the wings with sesame seeds and the sliced spring onions. Serve with a big squeeze of lime.
Fancy getting involved in London Wing Fest?
Yes, it's a thing. The guys at Randy's Wing Bar are taking part this year's chicken wing festival in London on 23 May 2015. Around 30,000 wings will be scoffed as part of a competition to find the Best Wings in London and this year, it's hosted by hot sauce master Dr Sweetsmoke.