Sunday, January 31, 2016

Denver Versus Carolina Wings

Super Bowl recipes are everywhere and I am no different in wanting something fun to serve while watching the "big game."  This year it's chicken wings with two sauces: one to celebrate Denver and the other for Carolina.

For the Broncos, it's got be chili verde wings. Denver residents, including my brother, put their famous green chili sauce on everything from breakfast to through dinner. We all know the Carolinas are famous for several types of great barbecue so for the Panthers we'll toss the wings in a thin vinegar-hot sauce that reminds me of little of Buffalo wings.

Get ready-- it's game on.

And by get ready, I mean the cook should enjoy the party too.  The wings are cooked right out of the freezer, drained then finished in their sauce.  You can even make them ahead. 
Denver Versus Carolina Wings
Recipe makes enough sauce for 3 dozen wings and can be doubled or tripled.

Start with the Wings:
36 frozen chicken wings  (about 3 pounds)
  1. Preheat oven to 425˚F. 
  2. Line two roasting pans with tin foil.   
  3. Place half the wings in each pan and roast for 15 minutes then drain wings.  While wings roast, prepare sauces. 
...for the Denver Wings
Chile Verde Sauce
2 Poblano or Anaheim peppers (canned is OK according to Denver residents)
1 jalepeño chili pepper
1 medium tomatillo*
½ medium onion
1 clove garlic
½ teaspoon oregano
¼ teaspoon cumin
1/8 teaspoon salt
handful fresh cilantro
¼ cup water
*If you cannot find tomatillos, substitute a seeded tomato and a tablespoon of lime juice
  1. Roast, peel and seed fresh chilies if using.  If using canned, skip this step.   
  2. Roughly chop chilies, onion and peeled garlic clove.  (You may use jalepeño without roasting.  Seed and remove veins before chopping.) 
  3. Add chopped vegetables, spices and cilantro to a food processor.  Pulse to create a puree.   
  4. Add water by tablespoonful if pulp is very thick.  You are looking for a thick but pourable sauce.

...for the Carolina Wings
Vinegar Barbecue Sauce
½ cup apple cider vinegar
1 teaspoon maple syrup (or brown sugar)
2 teaspoons hot sauce (or ketchup if you do not want spicy wings)
½ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon black pepper
  1. Combine all ingredients in a jar.  Seal the jar and shake well.
Finish Wings:
  1. Pour the Chili Verde Sauce in one pan and the Vinegar Barbecue Sauce in the other.  Toss each sauce with the wings to coat completely.   You may have a little leftover sauce. 
  2. Roast uncovered for 30 minutes.  Halfway through turn the wings over in the sauce and switch their positions in the oven.  Wings  are ready when they reach a temperaure of 170˚F.  Serve immediately or cool and store covered.  (If using fresh wings, check after 20 minutes.)
  3. If you want your wings to have crisp skins, turn each wing so that it is sitting skin side up. Turn the oven to broil and place the roasting pan on the top rack.   Broil for 5 minutes, watching carefully.

Wings can be served plain or with dippers like sour cream, guacamole or buttermilk based dressings or drag them through some bean or beer-cheese dip. The Carolina wings also taste good with blue cheese dressing inthe style of Buffalo wings.

Store cooled wings covered in the refrigerator.  Reheat wings uncovered in a preheated 325˚F oven for 15-20 minutes.  Wings can be reheated in the microwave  with a cover --like a piece of paper towel to absorb any slattter.  They do not crisp up as well in the mircowave as in the oven.

If you have a litttle more time and care about the amount of fat associated with chicken wings you can roast the wings for 15 minutes, drain the fat and then combine the wings with their respective saauce.  Cook another 10-15 minutes until the wings reach a temperaure of 170˚F.