American cuisine can often be much maligned, but there are many nuggets (or should that be tenders?) of brilliance in amongst the pizzas and burgers. One of the greatest delicacies going, in my opinion, is the humble chicken wing. Done right, they are moreish to the point of being a whole meal, messy and social at the same time.

For me the best style is hot wings; there has to be a marriage of chicken and spice. I am well aware that this is a controversial subject and that there are many family recipes and much debate on what does and doesn’t qualify as a true hot wing, but this recipe has been a knock-out every time I have done it.

I haven’t referred to these hot wings as “buffalo wings” as I believe, strictly, the wings should not be coated to be truly referred to as such. However, the “sauce” I use fans will invariably recognise as being a buffalo style sauce.

This recipe will serve 2 hungry hot wings fans. It poaches the chicken in milk for maximum tenderness. Enzymes in the milk start to break down the proteins in the chicken and this method also means the frying is limited to crisping the skin and coating, not cooking the whole chicken. Whilst this doesn’t make these hot wings healthy (not by a long shot) it is at least an improvement.

Hot Wings Ingredients

  • 2lbs (around 900g) of chicken wings.
  • 1 medium onion
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 pints of milk
  • 4 tablespoons of butter
  • 2 large cloves of garlic, crushed.
  • 2 tablespoons of hot sauce
  • 75g of plain flour
  • 1 heaped teaspoon of cayenne pepper
  • 1 heaped teaspoon of paprika
  • 1 teaspoon of salt
  • Flavourless oil (e.g. vegetable, sunflower) for frying.

Hot Wings Recipe

  1. Remove the skin and the root of the onion and roughly chop into about 6 pieces. Chuck the wings and the onion into a large saucepan with the bay leaf.
  2. Pour over the 2 pints of milk.
  3. Bring to the boil and leave to simmer for 20 minutes.
  4. Whilst the chicken is poaching, melt the butter in a small saucepan and add the garlic. Let the garlic cook through without burning or browning and add the hot sauce and stir. Leave it on a low heat for around 5 minutes.
  5. Mix the flour, salt, paprika and cayenne pepper in a bowl or a sandwich bag as you see fit.
  6. When the chicken has simmered for its 20 minutes, drain them. Discard the onion and bayleaf and allow to cool for 5-10 minutes.
  7. Coat each wing separately (and thoroughly) in the bag or bowl and place on a plate. Ideally, if you have time, you would now allow them to cool completely and then cover and refrigerate to help set the coating (4-6 hours ideally), but if you’ve a real hankering for hot wings, you can proceed without chilling. The buffalo sauce (butter, hot sauce and garlic) will keep in a covered bowl in the fridge as well for this time, it will just need melting again is all.
  8. Pre-heat an oven to 200 degrees centigrade and a deep-fat fryer * to its maximum setting (usually around 190 degrees centigrade).
  9. Fry the coated wings in the hot oil until crispy and golden. Place in a roasting tin on a sheet of kitchen paper to help drain them. Ideally, fry them in small batches so you can easily turn them and they have space.
  10. Remove the kitchen paper, toss the wings in the buffalo sauce and then pop into the oven for 5 minutes and serve. A good serving idea is with sticks of carrot and celery and a blue cheese sauce, but the only real serving requirement is a good stack of napkins.

* a deep-fat fryer is the best tool for this job because they are controlled by a thermostat which makes them a lot safer. They are often deep too which helps, however, a wok will also do the trick if you are careful and safe with the oil.

Hot Wings