I’ve been trying very hard to find a silver lining in this economic collapse. The best I’ve been able to manage is in the fact that supermarkets are suddenly stocking more of the cheaper cuts of meat – and those cheaper, nubbly cuts, like pork belly and hock or breast of lamb, are great. They’re often fattier, tastier and altogether more fun to cook with than the clean, boneless slabs of muscle supermarkets usually fall back on.
Chicken wings are among my favourite of the nubbly bits – all that lovely, crisp skin, and the sweet little nuggets of meat, full of flavour from nestling up against the wing bone. The nice chaps at SealSaver (keep this up, fellas, and you’ll become my very best friends) have recently sent me a couple of new SealSaver vacuum canisters, which, besides increasing the storage life of foods make marinading an absolute breeze. Stick the meat and marinade mixture in a Sealsaver, pump the air out, and some magical process occurs, making the meat marinate in a fraction of the usual time. If you don’t have a SealSaver (and you should – they make life in the kitchen very easy), marinate these wings for 24 hours in the fridge. In the SealSaver, they only needed two hours – brilliant.
To make 16 wings (enough for two as a main course or four as a starter) you’ll need:
16 chicken wings, tips removed
5 tablespoons dark soy sauce
8 tablespoons light soy sauce
2 tablespoons molasses
8 tablespoons Chinese cooking wine or dry sherry
3 heaped tablespoons soft dark brown sugar
3 tablespoons sesame oil
8 star anise, 4 kept whole, 4 bashed to rubble in a mortar and pestle
Spring onion to garnish
Prick the chicken wings all over with a fork. Mix all the ingredients except the chicken wings and spring onion in a bowl, and combine the marinade with the chicken wings. If you’re using a SealSaver, marinate, refrigerated, for two hours – otherwise, marinate in the fridge for 24 hours.
Remove the wings, reserving the marinade. Bring the marinade to a low boil for two minutes. Grill the wings (use the barbecue if you possibly can – the only reason I didn’t was that it was snowing) over a slow heat for about 15-18 minutes, basting regularly with the cooked marinade and turning regularly until they are mahogany brown and crisp. Serve with more of the hot sauce and sprinkle with spring onion.