Do you ever find yourself with a potential cooking project nagging at the back of your mind? A phrase, maybe, or a half-formed idea that is missing some crucial details? You may not even actively be working on it; sometimes, it’s just a few words rattling around in the back of your mind as you go about your daily business.
For the last year or so, I’ve been playing out this very cooking conundrum. What was the phrase that was rattling around at the edges of my consciousness, fraying my nerves and pushing me closer and closer to an act of self-harm?
“Peanut butter and jelly wings.”
It was total nonsense; a jumbling of sounds that was less the name of a recipe, and more a collection of random nouns that didn’t link together in any kind of meaningful way. Actually, it was worse than that: If I strictly translated a peanut butter and jelly sandwich into Buffalo wing form, the results would be kind of, well, disgusting.
Thank goodness for the 100 million Thai people, and their important work in the world of chicken-and-peanut based appetizers! They’ve been combining chicken and peanuts in delicious ways for thousands of years, providing the first step in unlocking the “PB&J Wing” demons that were lurking behind my eyeballs.
For our “jelly,” I skipped any elaborate sauces, and turned straight to…jelly. It’s already almost perfect; we started with a seedless red raspberry jelly, thinned it with some apple cider vinegar, and then simmered a fresh habanero pepper in the mixture for about 15 minutes, to give it some heat. As it cools, it will firm back up, so keep it warm until you’re ready to spatter it all over your chicken wings.
The resulting chicken wings are a peanuty, fruity, spicy snack that’s perfect for getting all over your face and serving with pint after pint of crisp, cold beer. And finally, thanks to you, I’ve got this culinary monkey off my back. Enjoy.
- Zest of 3 limes
- ½ cup lime juice
- ¼ cup water
- 1 small onion, chopped
- 4 cloves garlic
- 1 teaspoon grated fresh ginger
- 2 teaspoons chipotle powder
- 1 tablespoon plus ½ teaspoon soy sauce
- 2 serrano chiles
- 2 pounds chicken wing segments, cut at the joints (about 20 wings and drummettes)
- 1 cup creamy peanut butter
- ¼ cup brown sugar
- 2 tablespoons vegetable oil, more as needed to thin the sauce
- 2 tablespoons toasted sesame oil
- 1 tablespoon lime juice
- ¼ teaspoon salt, more to taste
- ¼ teaspoon smoked paprika
- ⅛ teaspoon cayenne pepper
- ½ cup seedless raspberry jam
- ½ cup apple cider vinegar
- 1 fresh habanero pepper
- Vegetable or peanut oil, for frying
- 2 teaspoons black sesame or poppy seeds
- Sliced green onions, to garnish
- Combine the lime zest and juice, water, onion, garlic, ginger, chipotle powder, soy sauce and serrano chile in the bowl of a food processor. Pulse until nearly smooth.
- Place the wings in a bowl or large, sealable plastic bag. Pour over the marinade, toss to cover all pieces, and cover bowl (or seal bag). Refrigerate overnight.
- In a saucepan over medium heat, combine the peanut butter, brown sugar, canola oil, sesame oil, lime juice, salt smoked paprika, and cayenne. Stir frequently, until the ingredients are combined and the sauce warms; be careful not to cook at too high a heat, or the sauce may burn. Remove from heat and set aside.
- In a small saucepan over medium heat, combine raspberry jam, vinegar, and habanero, split lengthwise with seeds removed. Simmer, stirring often, until jam breaks down, then starts to re-thicken. If you want to be fancy and serve in a squeeze bottle, remove the habanero first.
- Remove the wings from the marinade, blotting dry with paper towels to dry.
- Fill a pot with frying oil to a depth of 3 to 4 inches. Heat the oil to maintain a temperature of 350 degrees. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
- Fry the wings, in batches, until the skin is crisp and a rich golden-brown, about 10-12 minutes per batch. Transfer cooked wings to a rack resting on a baking sheet, skin side down, spacing them apart so they do not touch. Continue until all the wings are fried.
- Brush each wing on one side with a light coating of sauce. Place the wings in the oven for about 5 minutes to bake the sauce onto the wings. Remove the wings from the oven and flip them over, brushing the other side with a light coating of sauce. Sprinkle over the sesame or poppy seeds and bake again for about 5 minutes.
- Transfer the wings to a plate, drizzle with liberal amounts of the raspberry habanero sauce, sprinkle with green onions, and serve immediately, with extra sauce on the side.