Monday, November 11, 2013

Mason's Kid-Friendly Favorite: Pop Pop's Sticky Chicken Wings with Blue Cheese Dressing on the Side

Photo by Alex Mathews      
Mason William Mathews

      Just in case you somehow missed it, I  spent 5 of the happiest days of my calendar year visiting my son and his family in California.  Surprise, surprise, I cooked.  I have a lot of theories about cooking for children and my grandson, Mason, aged 5, bore several of these out.  Now Mason has always been an adventurous eater.  Ever since I saw him tackle a bowl of Guacamole at age 2, I’ve been impressed by his palate.  But he did lay down the law when, at 3, he was confronted with a Chicken Curry I made.  “I don’t like spicy”, he declared.  So this trip I was determined to make amends.  And what better way to do so than by serving him Chicken Wings.  One of my theories is that small children are overwhelmed by big food.  Unlike a full-sized piece of chicken, the Chicken Wing is just the right size for a 5-year-old hand to handle. Now, how to make them memorable, kid-friendly and something even grown-ups would find irresistible.

Kid-Friendly Wings share only the Blue Cheese
Dressing with their cousins from Buffalo
Let’s face it; the Chicken Wing is very often prefaced with the word “Buffalo” and not as in “Bison” like an earlier post.  The Buffalo Chicken Wing is an invention from the uppermost North Western corner of New York State, the City of Buffalo.  These wings are so spicy, they could easily blow the roof of the mouth off of the most devoted fan of Hot Sauce, never mind that of a five-year-old boy.  Amazingly, in searching for “Kid Friendly Chicken Wing Recipes”, I came across a recipe that said the following: “ Most children find Buffalo Chicken Wings too hot to handle.  But if yours don’t, here’s the best recipe ever”.  Now really!  So I sifted through some others and found one that combined elements I was pretty sure Mason would not just tolerate by genuinely love.  
          It uses Hoisin Sauce, “the ketchup of Asia”, a tiny taste of chilies just to keep the adults interested, diced ginger and Orange Juice.  And unlike many wings, they aren’t fried.  Rather there’s a two-step process.  First, the wings are cooked in the sauce on the stovetop until the sauce is reduced and the chicken made tender.  Then, they go into a hot oven or 450 degree broiler just to crisp them up.   The taste secret is one every parent or grandparent should know: Sweet and mildly spicy is the key to a great child-friendly dish.  And in this case, Mason’s father and I both dove into this plate of chicken wings with equal gusto.  And just in case the sweet was over the top, I added a traditional blue cheese dressing to make these wings a sweet and spicy, cool and creamy delicacy for everyone at the table.  Much to my great pleasure, Mason even ate the blue cheese up.  Here’s the recipe for both wings and blue cheese dressing.

Recipe for Pop Pop’s Sticky Chicken Wings with Blue Cheese Dressing 
Serves 4.  Takes 1 hour to make tops.

For the Sticky Chicken Wings:
3 lbs., Chicken Wings, drumettes separated from wings. Tips cut off.
9 tbsp. Hoisin Sauce
1 tbsp. Sriracha Chile Sauce
2 tbsp., peeled ginger cut into tiny dice
1 ½ cups Orange Juice
1 cup Scallions, sliced ¼ inch thick, green and white parts
Salt and Pepper

For the Blue Cheese Dressing
1- 4 oz. container of Crumbled Blue Cheese
¾ Cup Hellman’s Mayonnaise
¼ Cup Sour Cream
1 tbsp. Red Wine Vinegar
2 tbsp. Lemon Juice
1 tsp. Garlic Powder
Salt and Pepper to Taste

First, make the Chicken Wings:
Combine hoisin sauce, Sriracha or other chile sauce, the ginger, the orange juice and salt and pepper in a bowl.
In a large pot or large skillet, pour in the sauce to cover the bottom. Then add chicken wings in layers, saucing them as you go along.
Cover the pot and cook the wings for 30 at medium heat. After 20 minutes, remove the cover and allow the sauce to thicken.
Pre-heat the oven or broiler to 450 degrees.
Place the chicken wings on a large sheet pan covered in non-stick aluminum foil. Make sure there is room between each piece of chicken.
Place in the oven to crisp.  Watch carefully as this can take anywhere from 5 to 10 minutes.  Remove from heat. Either put the wings on individual plates or on a big platter in the center of the table.  Scatter scallions over the wings.
As Chicken wings cook, make the Blue Cheese Dressing.
Combine, Blue Cheese, Mayonnaise, Sour Cream, Vinegar, Lemon Juice, Garlic Powder and Salt and Pepper and whisk in a large bowl.
Place finished dressing in Refrigerator until time to serve. Serve in individual bowls or in the center of the platter of Sticky Chicken Wings.
Dive in. 

1 comment:

  1. What is it about those delicious morsels of meat, barely there, that entice so many? I could easily eat these til I pass out! "Sweeter at the bone" comes to mind but they sure do benefit from a savory sauce and that blue cheese dressing....swoon.... I'm a blue cheese junkie - love it!!

    Thanks for yet another wonderful recipe AND for sharing your visit with your precious grandson with us. Seems like you've got a budding connoisseur on your hands - congratulations!