I’ve mentioned the Alton Brown wing recipe a couple of times now, and I wanted to give you guys a little more detail about how we make it.
Note: we’ve been using drumsticks during the Challenge because they’re cheaper than wings.
Alton Brown wings with a twist
1 Steam wings in the microwave
I know, you’re thinking, what? Cook in the microwave? No joke. Microwaves are superior to other cooking methods in select cases, and it pays to know what those are. Steaming happens to be one of them.
The benefits are multitudinous:
- It’s more environmentally friendly, consuming much less water (none) and much less energy than the stovetop method.
- It’s faster (well, maybe, but it’s certainly a lot more convenient)
- Clean-up is easier (washing a plate instead of a big pot)
- It’s tastier, because none of the chicken flavour is diluted into the water
- The byproducts are tastier, because rather than having watered down chicken broth at the end, you have this incredible thick, flavourful liquid that is pure chicken-y goodness.
I use a couple of tricks to steam chicken in the microwave:
- I use the microwave’s pre-programmed chicken times (enter type of food and weight). I generally go low on the weight due to my other tricks.
- Because microwaves cook from the outside in, and can’t penetrate deeply (about an inch), I arrange the chicken pieces with the thickest sections closest to the outside.
- I let the chicken stand for 5-10 min after the microwave turns off to allow cooking to continue. The chicken pieces will be very hot internally, and will continue to cook even after the microwave has shut off.
- I cover the plate to avoid splatter and increase the steaming effect. I now have a cover specifically designed for the microwave, but I used to use other plates and dishware – whatever I could get my hands on.
The result is a quickly, thoroughly cooked chicken, with the bonus of that thick, flavourful liquid I mentioned earlier. It’s basically like a super-concentrated stock, and can be used as such or in sauces. Or, because it is so delicious and high quality … you can just drink it. That’s what I do.
2 Fridge for an hour
We suspect that this step is to ensure that the wings are properly dry, but don’t worry if you don’t have time to do this step. Because the microwave steaming method is a lot more dry than the stovetop method, this step isn’t as crucial if you’ve used the microwave. It does make a difference, though, so try to do it if you can.
3 Bake or broil for 20 min on each side
Alton Brown says to bake, but Hide likes to turn on broil to make sure that the crispiness is perfect. He broils at the same temperature that AB recommends baking at – the difference is simply which set of coils is on. When set to broil, the top coils are on, so the heat is radiating directly onto the chicken, instead of the baking sheet. He keeps the door closed because he doesn’t want the coils to be on all the time; like on the bake setting, they should be on only to keep the temperature constant.
And that’s it! Pretty simple, and although each step is fairly time-consuming, neither is labour-intensive. It’s a ‘set the timer then walk away’ kind of process.
Hide made a honey mustard sauce to go with the wings. Delicious! Went with the wings perfectly!
- Start with your favourite mustard. For Hide, it’s the coarse, stone-ground stuff, with plenty of grains still floating around.
- Add honey for its flavour and sweetness. (He may have gone overboard this time, since he knows I like sweet stuff. But the sauce is so good that it doesn’t need to be extra-sweet.)
- Season with salt and pepper to taste.
- Add a dash of paprika.
- Add a bit of white wine or chicken stock (from the microwave steaming method) to loosen the sauce.
- Stir and it’s done!
Since we had the oven on anyway, we decided to make a side of roasted broccoli. I really like broccoli, but I’m awful at cooking it. Hide hit on this idea of roasting it in the oven with garlic and parm awhile back, and now I just beg him to cook broccoli for me instead of doing it myself (and ruining it).