Wings are fun. Know what’s not fun? Going back to school. Worse yet is not going back to school at all, the realization that summer is just another passing couple of months of Real Life. Or maybe, real life is better. Summer weather is going to continue for another month or so, and those of us not in school have as much leeway as ever to make the most of it. Right?
A quick stock of the summer reveals that it wasn’t all that grown up. I swam in the Atlantic at two different latitudes; I got sunburnt ten times; I ate fried clams and drank Watermelon Rickeys; I played a lot of frisbee; I checked out Austin, Texas where I ate brisket and breakfast tacos and met Quinn from Scandal (!); I biked miles upon miles; I threw a biergarten party; I went to my first Big Summer Potluck; I launched Cooking Coaches.
Which maybe means I am ready for fall, and which brings us back to wings. These guys, baked til crisp in the oven (remember the oven? the kitchen tool you haven’t thought about since May?), symbolize the best of the season to come: football games and tailgates, indoor fun, dark beer, and red wine. Birthdays. Anniversaries. Cozy cabins in a Vermont countryside bright with foliage (here’s hoping). We might as well embrace it all.
I developed this wing recipe for Pacific Coast Producers, a private-label tomato company in California. It’s a play on buffalo wings, but instead of fried, the chicken gets baked until it’s crispy, then tossed with a homemade sweet-and-sour tomato-ginger chutney that perfectly complements the meat.
The chutney itself comes together surprisingly quickly, given its nuanced flavor. It makes use of sweet onions, spicy ginger, and tangy tomatoes to create an irresistible sauce you’ll find yourself licking from your fingers. Use any leftover sauce to dip bread into as an appetizer or dollop on top of eggs, tacos, or fish. Confession: I even like to dip my grilled cheese sandwiches into a bowl of this chutney.
Crispy Baked Chicken Wings with Tomato Chutney
Serves 8 to 10 as a snack
Originally published here
You can definitely make the chutney ahead of time – just bring it to room temperature before tossing with the wings. I was so surprised by how much I enjoyed these wings at room temperature, so don’t feel pressured to serve ‘em hot. And, these don’t have to be finger food: serve over rice or with bread for a fun main course.
For the wings:
2 1/2 pounds chicken wings
1 tablespoon oil
2 tablespoons chopped cilantro leaves
For the chutney:
1 tablespoon oil
2 large onions, diced
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger
Two 14.5 ounce cans of Italian Style diced tomatoes
1 tablespoon kosher salt
1 tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon curry powder
2 1/2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
Preheat the oven to 400°F. Place the wings in a bowl and toss them with the oil and several big pinches of salt. Arrange the wings on two baking sheets lined with parchment paper or foil. You don’t want them to touch. Bake the wings for 15 minutes, then increase the oven temperature to 425°F and bake for 15 more minutes. The skin should be brown and crisp.
Meanwhile, heat a Dutch oven or large saucepan over medium heat. Sauté the onions until translucent and soft, about 8-10 minutes, stirring frequently. Add the garlic and the ginger and cook for an additional 3 minutes. Carefully pour in the tomatoes, then add the salt, sugar, spices, and 2 tablespoons of the vinegar. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to low and let the chutney simmer for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the remaining vinegar.
Let the chutney cool til a splatter wouldn’t burn you (about 15 minutes), then purée in a food processor or using an immersion blender until smooth. Place about three quarters of the chutney in a serving platter with sides. Using tongs, transfer the wings into the sauce. Toss all together to coat the chicken with the chutney. Garnish with cilantro. Serve hot or at room temperature.
You’ll have some extra sauce—you can put it out with the chicken or save it for another use.