Here we are on the second of four (I need to issue a correction from my last post where I stated there were only going to be three… clearly I can’t count) posts for Jess’s feast from season 2 episode 5, Nick & Nora, Sid & Nancy. To reiterate, that feast includes pot roast, chicken wings, mashed potatoes, four different kinds of salad, grilled cheese and garlic bread. You can read part one where I tackle a little less than half that list here. I’ve chosen to attempt the chicken wings next.
Since there’s nothing more offered for this recipe than “chicken wings” alone, I partially followed my instincts and “winged” it, if you will, (sorry, it was too easy) and used the scene as a guide for what the wings should look like.
You can tell that the wings have a deep mahogany color to them, leading me to believe they were at least roasted, but I can’t know for sure that they were also glazed. Either way, the look of these reminded me of the same bronzed color I get from my favorite Thanksgiving turkey recipe from Bon Appetit that involves a savory-sweet soy sauce glaze that is a huge hit every year at our annual Friendsgiving.
I was taking quite a risk trying to reduce this recipe since the density difference between a 12 POUND TURKEY AND THREE POUNDS OF CHICKEN WINGS is quite large, especially since you need to brine the meat the day before roasting. The flavors were *heavenly*, but the initial batch turned out way too salty, even for me. Nonetheless, it did not stop me from devouring an entire plateful of wings, which is how I know the recipe can still translate well from a big bird to teeny tiny chicken wings. In all honesty this recipe could have used further testing, but for the sake of moving forward, I’ve made some adjustments which I think should fix the issues in the recipe below.
The brine is a combination of festive fall flavors that includes bay leaves, black peppercorns, allspice, salt, sage and brown sugar. Even without a proper spice mill or mortar and pestle (Sookie, and the writers at Bon Appetit, would be so disappointed in me!) to grind fresh spices, the fragrance from the dried spices still had me fantasizing of family and friends all gathered in the same place at the same time, and also helped justify pulling out a Thanksgiving recipe at the precipice of summer in Texas. This quarantine has me a little concerned that these wings may end up being a replacement for turkey if we aren’t able to gather normally by November… is it terrible if I say that actually wouldn’t be a horrible compromise???
After brining the wings overnight in the fridge, and washing the wings thoroughly before roasting in a 425 degree oven, you make a simple glaze with brown sugar, soy sauce and red wine vinegar until thick and sticky (be careful not to overcook, as it will also thicken as it cools). Glaze the wings about halfway through and stick them back in the oven until carmelized to perfection, and you’re done! Less than half the effort of a Thanksgiving dinner, but with all the flavor. I would like to imagine that would be Sookie’s intention for a welcome-to-town feast for sure!
Glazed and Lacquered Chicken Wings adapted from Bon Appetit’s original recipe
For the brine:
4 bay leaves (dried)
1 tsp fresh cracked peppercorns or black pepper
¼ tsp allspice
¼ tsp sage (ground if using dried)
3 tbsp kosher salt
2 tbsp brown sugar (packed)
For the glaze:
⅛ cup low sodium soy sauce
⅛ cup red wine vinegar
3 tbsp brown sugar (packed)
Combine the bay leaves, pepper and allspice in a spice mill or with a mortar and pestle (I made a make-shift pestle out of the handle of my meat mallet… whatever works!) until the spices are fine. Mix in the kosher salt and brown sugar until combined. Rub the brine into all sides of the wings until fully coated. Let rest on a parchment covered cookie sheet in the fridge overnight, or at least six hours. After chilling, rinse the wings under luke-warm water to remove brine and bring to room temperature. Preheat the oven to 425. Roast the wings for 30 minutes.
While the wings are cooking, make the glaze in a small saucepan over medium-high heat. Combine the soy sauce, vinegar and brown sugar and stir until the sugar is dissolved. Bring to a boil, and then simmer until the sauce is very thick. It should create a thick stream when lifted with a pastry brush, about 10-15 minutes. Set aside to cool. The glaze will continue to thicken. When the wings have finished the initial roast, take them out and coat them on all sides generously with the glaze. If the glaze has thickened too much, return to heat until it becomes easier to spread. Return to the oven for 10-15 more minutes, watch carefully that the glaze does not burn. Plate and enjoy!