I have never prepared chicken wings. There, I said it. I've been busy, who has time? Actually, I just am so enamored of the Buffalo wings at our own downtown Minneapolis' watering hole, Runyon's, that it doesn't seem necessary to try this at home. But yesterday that all changed when I picked up my Steamy Kitchen cookbook and read the recipe for Baked Garlic Chilli Wings. Baked, huh? Ok, that was tempting. I just don't need another deep fried food in my life, I have plenty that I already love, thanks.
Job one: buy chicken wings. I didn't want to go the frozen route, so I drove over to Northeast Minneapolis' favorite butcher shop, Ready Meats, and tried to casually ask for two pounds of chicken wings after I noticed they were whole wings, not just the cute little drummettes I'm accustomed to. Once home, I immediately accessed the Internet to find out how to break down the huge chicken wing clusters in my possession. I had an idea of how to do it, but I needed a little encouragement. I found it in the form of a southern gentleman making wings in a two minute video. Thank you, kind gentleman. The whole experience was pretty easy, I just wasn't prepared for the thick folds of chicken skin webbing the drummette and the wingette, nor was I ready to find tiny little feathers. Yes, I understand the chicken once had feathers, I just didn't realize I was going to possibly eat them. Unless it's baked super crispy, I don't even like poultry skin, so this was a bit much for me. But I persevered, cut the pieces up, and threw them in a Chinese marinade for a few hours. Then I baked them up and did a quick stir fry of them in a wok filled with aromatics like garlic, green onions and ginger. Voila.
The result? Nice looking, good flavor, but I still struggle with the rubbery skin that results most of the time when you don't want to deep fry your bird. My friend Maria really liked the wings, so it was a success as far as I'm concerned, but I think I need to try again.