When I was asked to write about chicken wings for our next #TCBCookingChallenge I was so excited. I love chicken wings! Whether they are fried, baked, smoked, dry rubbed or tossed in a delicious sauce, they are always in my dinner time meal rotation either as an appetizer or a full entrée. I could talk about all of the diverse methods of cooking wings or different rubs and sauces to toss them in, but I wanted to offer an alternative method of preparing wings that you may never have heard or seen before.
I was stumped at first but when General Manager Kate Schrager suggested I make Thai stuffed chicken wings, I was hit with a spark of inspiration. So I set out and did some research. I found out that stuffing chicken wings is very popular in Asian cuisine and is usually reserved for special occasions, and I can understand why. This technique requires some time and patience but let me tell you: they are worth it! I am going to walk you through the entire process from de-boning the wing, to making the stuffing, and cooking the glaze that tops it all off before baking them off in the oven.
If this seems daunting don’t fret; if you stick with me until the end there will be a bonus more approachable chicken wing technique where I am going to share with you my all-time favorite chicken wing sauce. You know one of the biggest downfalls of chicken wings on their own is if you are not careful, they can be dry and tough from the cooking process. What I love about this method is the stuffing keeps the wings from drying out and creates a juicy and flavorful end result. This process begins with using a full chicken wing (consisting of the tip, flat, and drumstick) and the first step is removing the drumstick end. We do not need the drumsticks for this application but they can be saved for other recipes. Make sure to stay tuned until the end to see what I did with mine!
The next step is to remove the bone from the flat portion of the wing. You will need to disconnect the tendons and ligaments by making a cut around the end where the drumstick was just removed. Then push the meat down until you can grab onto the end of the bones.
You will continue to pull the meat down until you reach the next joint.
Next you will cut or pop off the wing bones to separate them from the tip. Just like that - you have deboned a chicken wing! The first couple can be difficult but by the third or fourth wing, it will get easier.
Once you have deboned all of the wings, you will marinate them in soy sauce and sugar.
While the wings are marinating, it is time to prepare the glaze. Combine 1/4 cup brown sugar and 1/4 cup fish sauce with 1 sliced jalapeño in a sauce pot and simmer for about 15 minutes or until reduce to a syrup-like consistency. This glaze would work nicely on just about anything and will last in the refrigerator for weeks.
Once the glaze is cooling, prepare the filling and stuff the wings. Make sure to preheat the oven to 425° and line a sheet tray with parchment or foil to bake on.
Thai Stuffed Chicken Wings
Scroll down for a printable version of this recipe
For the wings:
1 pound chicken wings, drumsticks removed and wing deboned
For the glaze:
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup fish sauce
1 jalapeno, sliced
Combine all ingredients in a saucepot over medium heat for 15 minutes and reduce to a syrup-like consistency.
For the filling:
4 dried shiitake mushrooms soaked in hot water until soft
1/2 cup glass noodles (Note: these are not rice noodles. It is important that they are made from mung bean, otherwise they will end up soggy.)
3 cloves garlic
8 cilantro stems, chopped
1 teaspoon black peppercorns
1/2 pound ground pork, or other ground meat of choice
1/3 cup grated carrot
1 green onion, sliced
3 teaspoons oyster sauce (You can omit if you don’t have it on hand and increase the amounts of soy, fish sauce, and sugar by 1 teaspoon with 1/2 teaspoon cornstarch added.)
3 teaspoons soy sauce
1 1/2 teaspoons fish sauce
1 1/2 teaspoons sugar
1. Soak the glass noodles in warm water for about 10 minutes until softened, strain them and cut soaked noodles with scissors into 3/4-inch pieces.
2. Remove mushrooms from soaking water and squeeze out excess water, remove stems and finely dice.
3. Grind peppercorns in a mortar and pestle until fine, add garlic and cilantro stems and pound into a paste.
4. In a mixing bowl, combine the garlic paste, ground pork, glass noodles, grated carrot, green onions, shiitake mushrooms, oyster sauce, fish sauce, soy sauce and sugar. Knead together with your hands until well mixed.
5. Stuff the wings, make sure to push the filling in tightly so there are no air pockets. Keep the filling flush with the edge of the wings, and no more, because the wings will shrink when cooked and the filling may seep out.
6. As you fill all of the wings, line them up on the prepared sheet tray being careful not to overcrowd the pan. Brush the wings liberally with the glaze and bake them for about 12 minutes. Then baste with more glaze and bake for an additional 5-7 minutes.
Note: if you like them extra charred like I do, switch to the broil setting on your oven for the last few minutes of cooking. These are great served with a sweet chili sauce on the side or drizzled with more of the glaze. They are really stunning sliced so you can see the filling or left whole standing up so you may just grab and go like traditional wings. I decided to plate them with a Thai cucumber salad for a more complete meal.
The biggest takeaway from this recipe is that once you have nailed the deboning process, the chicken wings can be really be stuffed with anything you would like and seasoned in a multitude of different ways. If you are not sure where to start, be sure to comment below for another flavor profile you may like. I took what I learned in my research and made this recipe up as I went along!
If these Thai stuffed chicken wings did not pique your interest and are a bit labor intensive for your home kitchen, don’t worry. I have another idea for you. Whenever I am craving chicken wings and want a quick fix, I make my all-time favorite sauce. It is a simple ratio of 2 parts Mae Ploy sweet chili sauce, 1 part sriracha, 1/2 lime juiced, and 1/4 cup of chopped cilantro. Any of these components may be adjusted for personal preference.
First, I lightly coat the chicken wings in flour or cornstarch or potato starch and season with salt and pepper. In this case, I used my leftover drumsticks from the recipe above. Feel free to omit this step and keep the wings clean, I find that by coating the wings they form a better crust and gives the sauce something to soak into.
Then, I shallow pan fry on medium high heat with canola oil in my cast iron pan until brown on all sides. It does not matter if they are cooked all of the way at this point because they will be finished in the oven. I am just looking for great color and caramelization.
I pull the wings out of the pan and toss them directly in the sauce to coat.
Finally, I broil them until the sauce starts to get crispy, about 2-4 minutes. When they come out of the oven, I toss them in the sauce again and plate up with extra cilantro and lime.
Don’t these wings make your mouth water? Make sure to check out our private Facebook group and join our #TCBcookingchallenge to show off your favorite chicken wing recipe this week or go ahead and try these options. I would love to see how they turn out and see some new ideas from you.
These wings would make a great dish for watching football this season. If you want more game day ideas, join us for Tailgating on the Patio on Saturday, October 24 at 11am at Lincoln Square. In this grilling demonstration class, you'll learn how to make:
- Fire Roasted Corn and Jalapeño Dip
- Sirloin Sliders with Bacon and Blue Cheese Sauce
- Grilled Pizza with Bratwurst, Grilled Onions and Gruyere Cheese
- Honey-Sriracha Grilled Chicken-Pineapple Skewers