Chicken Wings are one of my specialties. I wrote a whole book on them. You’d think after that endeavor that I might never touch a chicken wing again, but alas, I still love them.
There are certain things I genuinely hate making after doing a book about it, ala marshmallows, but even after that book, I still worked with them on a weekly basis when I spent a year as a candy maker. That being said, I am no longer a candy maker, and I hope to not make any marshmallows for a very long time.
Chicken wings, I have no hate for. I still love making them (as much as one can love working with raw chicken, I suppose). Especially in early fall when I pretend to care about football and long for nights when the sun has gone down early, sitting under a blanket, watching some sports-ball and gnawing on some chicken wings.
Yes, I do fear that if I go to hell, I’ll be greeted by hundreds of cackling, armless, chickens, but I’ll deal with that when and if I get there. Until then, I will continue to enjoy chicken wings. Hopefully soon, under a blanket on a dark Sunday. Or at a bar on a too bright Sunday. Either or.
Chicken wings are one of those foods that, like many others, are the result of an error mixed with a little bit of local folklore. An error that became trendy, and a trend that has never ceased.
Chicken wings have a bizarre and elusive tale, they just sort of appeared one day in July of 1977 in the city of Buffalo, New York. It’s said that someone (which restaurant it happened at is a widely debatable subject in Buffalo) ordered the wrong sized chicken parts when doing their nightly ordering, so the mother, the cook of the family-owned restaurant sort of just rolled with it. She covered the little wings in hot sauce and sold them to sell them. They were a hit and various other restaurants in Buffalo started copying the trend. No one knows who really did it first, and it’s a very scandalous topic in Buffalo as to whose mother made them and sold them, but we know they came from Buffalo. And really, that’s all we know for certain.
Over the years, the chicken wing preparation has evolved from just frying and slathering in hot sauce. Chicken wings are also baked, smoked, slow-cooked, and pressure-cooked, all turning out varied and delicious results. They are paired with soy sauce or Alfredo sauce or even peanut butter and jelly. They are served with fries, pasta, salad, vegetables and waffles. The chicken wing has proved to be a mighty and trusty canvas and sidekick.
Although there are seventy recipes in my book “Chicken Wings”, the one that sits closest to my heart is the recipe for Cola Wings.
I know that to some it might sound gross, but they are my favorite and I don’t care if they sound gross, (trust me, they don’t sound as gross as the mole chicken wings look). I like them because they are a little bit of summer mixed with fall. You have the icy cold cola mixed with a chicken wing that can be enjoyed at any tailgating event. I also like this recipe because it allows a little creativity. Although this recipe uses Cola, you can use almost any soda flavor, if you really want to put your own spin on it.
These chicken wings are best suited for a date with blue cheese dipping sauce, the Home Sick Texan’s Dr. Pepper Baked Beans, and a side of crudités to round it all out.
4lbs of chicken wings
2 cups/450g of light or dark brown sugar
2 cans of cola, root beer or soda
3 onions, chopped
2 shallots, finely chopped
4 garlic cloves, minced
4 tablespoons of soy sauce
1/2 teaspoon of freshly ground black pepper
pinch of salt
2 teaspoons of cornstarch
Preheat the oven to 350F.
In a medium bowl, combine the brown sugar, soda, onions, shallots, garlic soy, pepper and salt.
Place the wings in a large, deep casserole or roasting dish. Pour the cola mixture over and bake for 1 1/2-2 hours or until the juices run clear when the thickest part is pierced to the bone. Turn the wings occasionally during cooking to ensure they do not burn or brown too much.
Remove the wings from the dish and set aside.
Pour the soda mixture into a small saucepan and heat. Place the cornstarch in a small bowl, add some of the warm sauce and mix to form a loose paste. Pour this back into the pan to with the remaining sauce and cook over a low-medium heat until the sauce has thickened to the desired consistency. Toss the wings in the sauce and serve immediately.