Oh, summer in Missouri . . . how I haven’t missed you. Trust me, Missouri possesses virtues you can and should miss, but summer’s simply not one of them. This is one of those sticky states where stepping outside is akin to bathing in simple syrup and forgetting to wash off. Where you keep waiting for Virgil to materialize because this is surely the hottest circle of hell, and we’ve got to get a move on if we want to reach Gluttony by dark. Now, Missouri in springtime? Less inferno, more divine. Missouri in fall? Classic—and the season I miss most when I don’t live here. But the summer inevitably drudges along, and we drudge with it—some of us—ahem—without a pool to warm/cool our spirits between the hours of 6a and 10p.
So I say lean in and make the most of your summer by eating as many sticky sweet and sour wings as possible. You might ask what wings have to do with hot weather, and, to you, I’d say shut up and let me finish. These wings are a staple in my family, a recipe I always make this time of year for my dear sister Emily’s birthday. And Emily, true original that she is, prefers to eat them cold. I’m not sure how cold chicken wings in hot weather isn’t yet the latest culinary trend, but as sure as I want to eat cold fried chicken on a float trip, nothing sounds better to me right now than a pile of chilled wings. This is not a “fetch’ or even far-fetched scenario, people: we can make it happen through the powers of our stomachs and minds. Or, if you’re a traditionalist, eat these wings hot as your oven intended. I don’t have as much control here as I’d like.
This recipe has transitioned in my family over the years from a sisterly birthday treat to a Christmas Eve tradition as well. Frankly, they’re so easy to make I’ve considered designating them a seasonal if not weekly feast. Keep your Meatless Mondays, and I’ll invite you over instead for Chicken-Wing Friday Mornings Between the Hours of 8a and 9a. But then you have to promise to leave before I start sucking the bones. This may be the Third Circle of Hell, but buy a girl a pool first.
- 3 pounds chicken wings, trimmed and dried
- ⅔ cup cornstarch
- ⅔ cup all purpose flour (if gluten-free like my momma, substitute rice flour)
- Salt and pepper
- 1 tablespoon paprika
- 1 tablespoon garlic powder
- 1 tablespoon onion powder
- 3 large eggs, beaten
- Canola/vegetable oil
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- ½ yellow or white onion, minced
- ⅓ cup chicken stock or broth
- ½ cup white granulated sugar
- ⅓ cup brown sugar
- ½ cup apple cider vinegar
- ¼ cup ketchup
- 1 heaping tablespoon soy sauce
- 1 tablespoon of your favorite hot sauce (optional, and can add more to taste)
- Preheat oven to 350F. In a large bowl, mix together the flour, cornstarch, paprika, garlic powder and onion powder. In another large bowl, beat the 3 large eggs together until well beaten and add a splash of water to thin the mixture slightly.
- Sprinkle the chicken wings liberally with salt and pepper. Begin dredging the wings in first the egg solution and then the flour mixture. Make sure wings are fully submerged in the egg before fully submerging in the flour.
- Meanwhile, heat a large frying pan over medium high heat with enough vegetable/canola oil to coat the bottom. Make sure your pan is very hot. Working in batches, fry the wings for about a minute in the hot oil before flipping and frying for one more minute. You are not completely cooking the wings, rather browning them on both sides. You made need to add a bit more oil between batches. Once fried, line in a large baking dish, placing the wings close together. If you can, use a baking dish large enough to fit all the wings. (I often have to use both a 9x13 dish as well as an 8x8). When finished browning all the wings, set aside.
- If you are able to, make the sauce at the same time as browning the wings; however, if that is too many burners, you can either make the sauce before starting the wings and let it rest or make right after browning the wings.
- In a medium saucepan, heat ½ tablespoon of olive or vegetable oil over medium heat. Once hot, add the onion and garlic and cook for about 5 minutes, until softened. Add the stock, both sugars, the vinegar, ketchup, soy sauce and the hot sauce to the pan and whisk together. Heat until simmering or at least until all the sugars have dissolved. Once thoroughly combined and the sugars have dissolved, pour evenly over the browned wings. It is going to be quite wet, but the sauce thickens during the baking process.
- Bake the chicken wings for one hour, turning them every 20 minutes, for a total of 3 turns. Once done, let rest either for 10 minutes before serving, or overnight for cold chicken wings.