Wings around our house don’t last long at all. I think I can safely say that my husband’s absolute favorite food is wings. I didn’t like wings all that much when I met him but now I love them. The one thing I didn’t love was how fatten they were, so I set out on a journey to make the chicken wing healthier without losing the crispy yummy outside (something many “healthier” chicken wing recipes lose).
Restaurants make wings by blanching them in hot grease until cooked through then setting them aside until ordered, this is how they managed to get your wings out so fast (because bone-in chicken takes awhile to cook. When you order them, they toss them back into the deep fryer until hot and cooked completely through and then toss them in the sauce of your choice. So far your wings have been in the grease twice.
Baking them just didn’t seem to do the trick either until I ran across Alton Brown’s from the Food Network, chicken wing recipe. At first it seemed like a lot of effort and probably won’t work but I do know Alton does know his way around a kitchen, so figured I would give his way a try for how to prepare the wings. He recommended steam blanching the wings for 10 minutes and then chilling them in the fridge for an hour (I’ve skipped this step with no issues but putting them in the fridge does remove more of the fat) before baking in the oven. The steam blanching and cooking process allows the fat which causes smoke in the oven or the grill and lack of crispy skin to be released from the wings. This process also reduces the risk of charring, instead the skin will just brown up nice and crispy, just the way we like it.
The steam blanching works well. After which, I line a baking sheet with foil (trust me you want to do this because of the cleanup and it makes the wing skin get crunchier) and lay out the wings on it. The oven is heated to 425° (or use the grill) and the wings cook on the middle rack for about 30 minutes, turning them one at the 15 minute mark. Finally coat them with your favorite sauce (we like Frank’s RedHot Sauces and a homemade Teriyaki, ginger sauce I make) and put them back into the oven for 10 minutes, turning them at the 5 minute mark to allow the sauce to bake on. This method works using drumsticks as well if you want to go a little less expensive than using wings, just increase the blanching time to 25 minutes.
These wings are crunchy with crispy skins and yet so moist on the inside, making your taste buds sing with joy. You’ll be in love and never miss the fact they were baked not fried. Serve them with ranch or bleu cheese dip and carrots and celery (veggies taste great in the dip as well). Try out my recipe for homemade bleu cheese dip (I use a slightly different recipe for the salad dressing) below and you won’t be buying the bottled stuff anymore with the simplicity of making and the wonderful flavors of this one made fresh (it’s loaded with chunks of awesomely stinky bleu cheese).
Blue Cheese Dip
2 1/2 oz. bleu cheese (use a high quality one)
3 Tbsp. skim milk
5 Tbsp. sour cream (can use fat-free to reduce fat)
2 tsp. white vinegar
1/4 tsp. garlic powder
1/4 tsp. dry mustard
1 1/2 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
Sea salt and pepper to taste
In a small bowl, combine the milk and the vinegar. Allow to sit while you combine the rest of the ingredients. In a food processor, add half the bleu cheese, sour cream and seasonings except salt and pepper, finally adding milk and vinegar mix last (yes it will look a little curdled). Blend until smooth, pour into a bowl. Add the rest of the bleu cheese and season with salt and pepper. Place in the fridge for about a half hour for flavors to meld then serve with your wings. The dip should be thick and smooth perfect to dipping into. Double or triple recipe based on amount of wings you make.
Yield: About 2/3 cup of dip.
More Chicken Wing Recipes and Tips: