Confession time…I’ve never been a fan of chicken wings. I couldn’t embrace the idea of eating a neon orange colored bone covered with greasy chicken skin slathered with a combination of fire and salt so strong it makes your eyes and nose water in an attempt to put out the fire raging in your mouth. But alas, your brain isn’t wired correctly to understand that the adjacent water producing orifices are incapable of putting out the fire in the orifice, in the middle of your face, that’s exploded like someone poured lighter fluid in it then tossed in a match.
Plus, in the immortal words of that cute little old lady from the Wendy’s commercial: Where’s the meat? (Yep, I changed the quote just a bit to serve my own selfish purpose.) The chicken wings you find in most establishments don’t even have any meat on them. What, do they only order chicken supermodels so they get the tiniest wings possible? (That would be irony at it’s finest, given that the wings are fried in oil, and turned into a spicy salt lick that will make you drink a keg of beer then retain water like the Hoover Dam – so model like.)
But I was headed to a party and was charged with bringing some kind of game day nosh. I was told “nothing fancy,” “none of that foodie bs you usually bring.” Message received loud and clear. Wings it was to be. Then I needed to figure out how I was going to make them. I couldn’t bring some kind of foofy food, but I could make a sauce that I liked (foofy or not).
I decided that I was going to make baked chicken wings. Not so much to make them “healthy,” but because I didn’t want to have to clean frying oil from every surface of my kitchen. Then I decided to make a sauce that has all of my favorite ingredients. By the way just because they’re baked, don’t think you can’t get crispy chicken wings…these are crispy.
I’m not a fan of really spicy stuff. I like heat, as long as it’s got flavor too. But I decided for these chicken wings, to do something that was a touch sweet and a lot tangy. So I made a cherry chocolate balsamic sauce. I do like the combination of chocolate cherry (like that chocolate cherry vegan ice cream), and have since I was a little kid and used to sneak the chocolate covered cherries out of my mom’s box of chocolates.
To get the meatiest chicken wings, I bought a package of what they call “mid-joint” wings. This is the part of the wing that has the most meat on it. I was also fortunate enough to have a store that carries some rather large wings, not the usual anemic looking wings that you find at most stores. Besides, if you’re going to go with baked chicken wings, you really want to have some meat on those bones so that there’s something actually there to cook and real meatiness to fully enjoy the sauce. Plus, with the sauce being tangy, you need some meat on there to stand up to it.
I’ll grant you that baked chicken wings are not the same kind of crispy chicken wings that come from a fryer, but because they still have the skin on them, and they’re baked for an hour, you’ll get the same kind of crisp on the wings as you do from a baked chicken.
After you try these, I think you’ll be hooked like I am. Yes, I do like chicken wings now. In fact, I’m the one who ate most of these at the party because I just couldn’t stop.
One thing I’ve learned is that working hard to become successful in your career does not get you the same results when you apply it to meeting a guy. Two hours spent getting ready to go out with the girls, dancing in 6 inch stilettos that gave you blisters and shin splints and 4 hours of batting your fake eyelashes until they almost fall off. Was it worth it?
Recipe: Baked Chocolate Cherry Chicken Wings
- 1 1/2 Pounds Chicken Wings
- 1 Ounce Cherry Jell-O
- 1 Cup Balsamic Vinegar
- 2 Tablespoons Cocoa
- 2 Tablespoons Butter
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees Farenheit.
- In a 2 quart saucepan, over medium high heat, add vinegar and cocoa. Stir and reduce by 25%. The mixture will thicken while it’s reducing.
- Remove from heat and stir in the butter.
- Spread out chicken wings on a half sheet pan and sprinkle half of the Jell-O over the chicken wings.
- Gently pour 1/4 of the reduced vinegar sauce over the wings.
- Bake for 30 minutes.
- After 30 minutes, turn chicken wings over.
- Sprinkle with remaining Jell-O. Drizzle 2 tablespoons of vinegar sauce over wings.
- Bake for another 30 minutes.
- Remove wings from oven and put into a large bowl.
- Pour remaining sauce into bowl with wings and toss to coat.
- Arrange wings on a large platter.
I also tried this with skinless chicken tenders. It’s not quite as good as with the skin on wings, but it does make for some delicious chicken to toss onto a salad.
Cooking time (duration): 15 Minutes
Diet (other): Gluten free
Number of servings (yield): 6
Meal type: snack
Culinary tradition: USA (General)