I like wings. No, I love wings. There is a place close by to us in Manhattan, Walkers, that is a classic New York pub. It opened the year we moved to Tribeca. Great wings with fire and crispness, regrettably available only at dinner time. We’ve been complaining about that for 25 years. You can see how much pull Suzen and I have at Walkers.
So, both for lunch and for other dinners and when we are upstate, we need our own wing recipes. I’ve found a great new resource. In fact, it is called The Great Wings Book by Hugh Carpenter and Teri Sandison. I found it at the bargain table of my Barnes and Noble and I am lucky to have snagged a copy of this 4-year-old book.
We adore this particular recipe for its Jalapeno intensity. And because these wings are baked, not fried. Hot and healthy? What more can you ask for?
Of course, as with any wing recipe, you can mix and match: wings and thighs. The proportions for the sauce are for 24 wings. You can “wing it” to make more sauce as you increase the amount of chicken parts.
The flavor here has an added kick from both Jalapeno jam and minced Jalapeno chilies with seeds. Those seeds have heat, so proceed with care. That’s “culinary code” for doing the mincing job with rubber gloves on and making sure no fingertip is near an eye. You’ll really feel silly if you have to walk around with a teary eye swollen shut because of a dab of chile. I did.
Jalapeno jam was once a rarity, but has become abundant on grocery store shelves. Actually, any pepper jam or jelly can be considered here. With the variety of these jams available, there is also a gigantic flavor spectrum for you to consider. Some jams are hot, some truly too mild, and many are sickly sweet — intended for cream cheese and crackers. The orange juice in this recipe supplies enough sweetness for even me, so try to find one of those jams that delivers at least some modest fire.
Please see my post earlier this week for Agave Margaritas. It’s a natural, and powerfully compelling, accompaniment for these wonder wings.
Mexican Wings with Jalapeno Glaze
Yield: serves 4 as an entrée or 6 to 12 as an appetizer
- 24 chicken wings [whole wings not just the meatier end]
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
- 1 tablespoon ground cumin
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 cups Jalapeno jam
- 2 cups freshly squeezed orange juice
- 2 Jalapeno chilies, mince, including the seed
- ¼ cup chopped cilantro sprigs
Cut off the wing tips and save them for making stock.
In a small saucepan, combine all the remaining ingredients. Bring to a simmer, stirring to combine. Let cool to room temperature. In a bowl large enough to hold the wings, combine the wings and the jam mixture. Marinate the wings in the refrigerator for 1 to 24 hours — the longer the better.
Preheat the oven to 375⁰F. Line a shallow baking pan with foil. Coat a wire rack with nonstick cooking spray and place the rack in the baking pan. Drain the chicken and reserve the marinade.
Arrange the wings on the racks, s(smooth surface down) and roast 30 minutes. Drain the accumulated liquid from the pan. Baste the wings with the reserved marinade, turn them over, and baste again. Roast until the wings a turn a mahogany color, about another 30 minutes. Remove from the oven.
Cut the wings in half through the joint. Serve hot or at room temperature.
Source: The Great Wings Book by Hugh Carpenter and Teri Sandison
I had to be careful. If I blew it, Suzen was not going to make this dish for me. I could not seem selfish or self-serving. That requires enormous concentration and energy. You could argue that if I just focused on being … What fun is that?
“You, uh, you do like jalapenos?” I asked her.
She put down the paper and her coffee. “What are you talking about? Are we married or not?”
“No, no,” I said. “It’s just with the acid reflux you’ve been having, I wondered if you could eat, say, a cooked jalapeno?”
“Cooking in what?” she asked. Her eyebrows were up. If our cat’s ears are up, I know that is good. If Suzen’s eyebrows are up, and her ears are twitching, that’s bad.
“Cooked in a little cheese. Sort of soothing.” I had to back her down.
“Maybe.” The eyebrows lowered. “Show me.” She extended her hand.
I passed her our new copy of The Whole Hog Cookbook by Libbie Summers. It was open to the picture of this chili with its jalapeno cheese dumplings.
She seized book, staring with the recipe but here attention immediately shifted to the picture: a steaming bowl of chili topped with dumplings. Her eyebrows descended fully. The ears were motionless. Her eyes shifted to me. “Why the hell didn’t you say so? Get your wallet. We’re going to Whole Foods.”
This book, The Whole Hog Cookbook, is brilliant, one of the best cookbooks we’ve seen in a year. Author Libbie Summers has earned her credibility with a lifetime in food. She began as girl visiting her grandparents’ hog farm in Missouri. She’s been a private chef on yachts [tough work but someone has to do it], worked for many food companies, is a food stylist master [see the pictures in this book], and is now the “driving force in kitchens of Paula Dean.”
Every time you turn the page in this book, you stop. You may want to begin cooking at once, or you may need to read to make sure you understand what the devil you are looking at:
- Sweet Potato Pork Pie
- Sweet Tea-Brined Pork Roast
- Buttery Potted Ham
- Prosciutto Pretzel Knots
- Bacon Beignets
- Rosemary Bacon Scones
This is one of those cookbooks that you’ll keep close at hand. You can cook your way through it all this fall and winter.
Besides the recipes, there well-photographed how-to sections demonstrating techniques for preparing your meat, like how to remove the membranes from pork ribs. Literally everything you need to know for creating outstanding pork dishes is all here in this craftily written work.
Oh, the dumplings? Oh, those dumplings. I love this chili, and it is a bit spicy, but the dumplings are what will bring the tears to your eyes.
Hog-Tied and Hungry Chile with Jalapeno Cheese Dumplings
Yield: 6 servings
For the chili:
- 1 pound dried black beans, rinsed and drained 1 pound ground pork
- 1 large sweet onion, finely diced
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 (4 ½ ounce) cans chopped green chiles
- 1 chipotle chile in adobo sauce, minced
- 1 tablespoon chili powder
- 2 tablespoons ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1 (28-ounce) can crushed San Marzano tomatoes
- 2 cups tomato juice
- 2 cups pork stock (page 154)
- 2 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped
For the dumplings:
- ½ cup all-purpose flour
- ½ cup masa harina
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 large egg
- ½ cup milk
- 1 tablespoon lard or vegetable shortening, melted
- 2 teaspoons honey
- ½ cup shredded cheddar cheese
- 1 jalapeno chile, seeded and minced
In a large stockpot, cover the beans with 3 inches cold water. Bring to a boil, lower the heat, simmer for 2 hours, or until the beans are fork tender. Drain the beans and set aside.
In the same large stockpot, cook the pork until the meat is no longer pink. Stir in the onion, garlic, green chiles, chipotle, chili powder, cumin, salt, and pepper.
Sauté for 10 minutes, or until the onion is translucent. Stir in the beans, tomatoes, tomato juice, stock and chocolate. Bring to a boil, then lower the heat and simmer for 30 minutes.
Meanwhile, make the dumplings: Whisk together the all-purpose flour, masa harina, baking powder and salt in a large mixing bowl. In a separate mixing bowl whisk together the egg, milk, lard, and honey.
Stir the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients until just combined. Stir in the cheese and jalapenos.
Drop heaping tablespoons of the dumping dough into the simmering chili, leaving a little space between the dumplings so they do not touch. Cover and simmer 20 minutes. Do not lift the lid while the dumplings are cooking. The dumplings should be firm to the touch, still moist in the center. Serve hot.
Source: The Whole Hog Cookbook by Libbie Summers