Baked Sticky Spicy Chicken Wings

 

chicken wings 2

I don’t think I can have enough chicken wing recipes.  These are perfect if you are looking for a sticky, slightly spicy, chicken wing.  Make sure you have plenty of napkins handy, you will need them.  If you like them extra spicy, just use more of the chile paste.

CHICKEN MARINADE

  • 2 pounds chicken drumettes
  • 1 TBSP toasted sesame oil
  • 1 TBSP soy sauce
  • 1 TBSP freshly squeezed lime juice
  • 1 TBSP chile garlic paste (sambal oelek, or Korean chili paste)
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1 tsp grated ginger

Using a ziplock bag, mix all ingredients except chicken wings.  When all ingredients are blended add the chicken and give it a good massage.  Put entire bag in the fridge for at least 3 hours.

SAUCE

  • 3 TBSP honey
  • 1 tbsp of the same chile paste you used in the marinade
  • 1 TBSP soy sauce
  • 1 TBSP toasted sesame oil
  • 1 TBSP freshly squeezed lime juice
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced

GARNISH (if desired)

  • sesame seeds
  • slivered green onions

Preheat oven to 425.

Spread wings out on a parchment lined baking sheet.  You will thank me later for reminding you to use parchment …

Bake for 20 minutes.

While chicken is baking, whisk to combine all sauce ingredients in a heavy bottom saucepan and bring to a boil.  Reduce heat to medium and allow to thicken.

Brush over chicken (or toss in a bowl to evenly coat) and return chicken to oven for another 5-10 minutes until crispy and browned in spots.

Garnish with sesame seeds and slivered onions.

Coconut Curry Noodle Bowls with Peanut Dressing

I’ve been trying to simplify some of my dinner plans ….. as much as I like puttering in the kitchen for a couple of hours after work (what I call kitchen yoga), there are times I just need to make a quick dinner.  This is one of my favourites …. quick, easy, healthy and most of all, absolutely delicious.  You don’t really have to make the peanut dressing to drizzle over, but honestly, isn’t everything better with peanut sauce?

coconut-curry-noodle-bowl

Tonight’s version of this bowl included prawns, mushrooms, snow peas, bok choy and lots of colourful peppers.

PEANUT DRESSING:
1 Tbsp toasted sesame oil
1 heaping Tbsp natural salted peanut butter
1 Tbsp brown sugar
1/2 Tbsp low sodium soy sauce
splash of lime juice
scant 1/4 tsp chili garlic sauce
1/2 tsp fresh ginger, minced or grated
splash of very hot water (only if too thick)

COCONUT CURRY:
1 tablespoon oil
2 shallots
1 tablespoon fresh ginger, minced
2 tablespoons red curry paste
1 14-ounce can regular coconut milk
1 ½ cup reduced sodium chicken or veggie broth
2 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon hot chili paste (sambal oelek)
2 tablespoons fish sauce
2 tablespoons soy sauce

2 tablespoons lime juice (optional)

BOWL: (These are suggestions, use whatever veg you have on hand)

4 ounces rice or egg noodles
1 tablespoon oil
half an onion, chopped
1 cup chopped broccoli florets
1 cup shredded carrots
1 cup chopped asparagus
1 cup shredded purple cabbage
sesame seeds & chopped peanuts for topping
limes for serving
a handful of fresh basil & cilantro for serving

I’ve also used snow peas, zucchini, sweet peppers & bean sprouts.

To prepare your peanut sauce combine all ingredients except the hot water, blend well and stir in just enough of the hot water to allow everything to become smooth and creamy.

Preparing the curry sauce is pretty easy.  Heat oil in a sauce pan and stir in shallots and fresh ginger, saute briefly just until translucent and stir i the curry paste.  Fry curry paste for 2-3 minutes, just to allow flavours to wake up.  Stir in the coconut milk, and stock.  Simmer for a few minutes just to allow flavours to get to know each other…… Taste …. if you can handle a bit more heat stir in the hot chili paste.  Remove from heat and add the sugar, fish sauce and soy sauce.  Taste again and adjust.  Remember, every brand of these ingredients will have a slightly different profile, and you need to make adjustments for that.  Last thing is to add the lime juice.  It should wake everything up and make you want to keep tasting …..

The method is fairly flexible, saute your veg in a wok with the oil just until crisp tender and set aside.  Alternatively, if you are using egg noodles, once you have removed the egg noodle from the boiling water, plunge the veg in for just 1-2 minutes until crisp tender and remove.

SERVING TIME:

Place noodles in the bottom of your bowl, layer on the veg, and sprinkle with toppings.  Gently pour over the coconut curry.  You can make this as saucy as you like by doubling up the curry sauce if you want more of a soup.  Drizzle over the peanut sauce and enjoy!

Smoked beans in electric smoker

Hey, your smoker is going with either your pork or chicken anyway, why not put that extra rack to use?  This recipe came from one of the ladies at my office, Karen Benn, and she adapted it to her smoker.  It is such a hit that the beans were gone before either the pork or chicken …. I know that seems weird, but it’s true!  For vegetarians, leave out the bacon and you have an amazing bean dish even without that bacon ….

beans

Pull out a large fry pan and saute until carmelized:

2 cups chopped white onions

1 pack bacon (partially frozen so you can easily slice it thinly)

Take your time with this step,the richer the color you get on your onions the more flavour your beans will take on.

In a large disposable foil tin, stir in 4 cans of beans.  This is really your own preference, feel free to use any combination of kidney, canelli, black or baked beans.

In a separate bowl stir together:

1/2 cup ketchup

1/2 cup white vinegar

1 1/2 cups brown sugar

1 tsp garlic powder

1 tsp dry mustard

Combine beans, carmelized onion and bacon mixture and the seasoning blend.  Stir well, tightly cover with foil (using a sharp knife poke holes in the lid) and smoke in your electric smoker at 275 for about 3 hours.  Yes, they will be runny when they come out, but allow to sit for a few minutes and you won’t believe how quickly they disappear.

 

smoked beans

Smoked Chicken in electric smoker

Pulled pork is incredible, and all the rage everywhere …. I understand that, and love it.  However, a few of my faithful friends and family that love me cooking for them, and I love cooking for them …. aren’t into pork.  So, my response is always to do a smoked chicken at the same time.  Usually all the pork eaters gobble down the pulled pork as their main meal, and then they just can’t keep their fingers from snacking and grabbing at bits of the smoked chicken.  Not only is it incredibly moist and delicous, that remaining carcass makes delicious soup stock!  I think the secret is in the brine.  Always an extra step, but if you are cooking for the love of it, you won’t mind this step at all.

This recipe works well for a 4-6 lb chicken.  I always recommend cutting the chicken in half, it allows for better brining and smoking.  Get your butcher to do it if you like!

Chicken brine

Brine:

2 cups chicken broth (homemade if possible)

1/2 cup kosher salt

1/4 cup local honey

2 tbsp raw sugar

2 tsp black peppercorns

4 long sprigs fresh rosemary

4 cloves garlic, smashed lightly to open up the aroma

2 dried chipotle chiles

2-3 bay leaves

Start by bringing 4 cups water to a boil in a pot, stir in the salt first, and dissolve that.  Remove from heat and stir in the rest of the ingredients.  If that doesn’t cool it down enough, add enough ice cubes to completely cool the liquid.  You do not want to put a cold chicken in warm liquid.  Make sure your chicken is completely covered with liquid (adding more cold water if necessary) and put in the fridge for 12 hours.

Remove from brine, rinse well and pat dry.

Mix together:

  • 1½ tbsp of garlic powder
  • 1½ tbsp oregano
  • 2 tsp thyme
  • 1 tbsp basil
  • 1 tbsp chile powder
  • 1 tbsp paprika
  • 1 tsp ground black pepper
  • 2 tsp salt

 

Feel free to play around with these spices and herbs, come up with your own blend!

Give the chicken a generous massage with this rub – treat it well ….. I usually like to wear disposable gloves for this – I find it helps the rub to adhere to the meat better than my hands …

Chicken ready for trhe smoker

At this point, put the chicken on your smoker rack, in the fridge (I put it on a cookie sheet so any remaining drips don’t end up in my fridge)  Allowing the chicken to completely dry out in the fridge, while soaking up these spices makes for a crispier skin.  Honestly, if you are doing this in an electric smoker you may find that the skin still doesn’t get crispy but you can always finish it up on the bbq or the broiler if you desire.

Place in electric smoker, which has been preheated to 250, and smoke for 3 hours.  *Usually I’ve had my pork in there for 4 hours already …*  Check the temperature – you ultimately want to end at 165 degrees, and do not go beyond that.  Usually this takes about 4 hours at 250.  When you reach that temperature, remove from smoker and tightly wrap in foil, allowing to rest for an hour.  At that point it will usually shread easily from the bones.  Make sure to reserve those bones for soup stock!

Serve with the usual pulled meat accompaniements …. creamy coleslaw, extra barbecue sauce and really fresh buns.

Pulled Chicken

 

 

 

Pulled Pork in the Smoker

During the winter months I resort to using either my oven or my slow cooker for pulled pork …. mainly because we don’t have an outdoor space where we can use our electric smoker and still have it be under cover.  Whenever the opportunity is available though, this is the way to go.  When I am operating the smoker I like to make good use of that smoke and utilize the space, so I often do a pork roast as well as a chicken.  After trial and error, this pulled pork is the best!  Pile soft buns with the meat, some creamy cole slaw and a few pickled onions – serve with potato salad and green salad and this meal is a winner.

Pulled Pork

 

BRINE:

8 ounces (3/4 cup) molasses

12 ounces pickling salt

2 dried chipotle chiles

2 quarts bottled water

6-8 pound pork shoulder (or Boston Butt as it is known in some areas)

It is best to weigh the salt.  Pickling salt, by ounce, is not as “salty” as a table salt by either weight or measuring cup.

RUB:

1 tsp whole cumin seed

1 tsp whole fennel seed

1 tsp whole coriander

1 tbsp Mexican chile powder

1 tsp black pepper

1 tbsp onion powder

1 tbsp garlic powder

1 tbsp paprika

Using a spice grinder (or mortar & pestle) finely grind the cumin, fennel and coriander seeds.  Add the rest of the spice powders and blend well.

Heat ½ of the water, add molasses and salt.  Simmer just until the salt has dissolved and stir in the rest of the water along with the chipotle chiles.  When mixture has cooled, put in a container suitable to go into your fridge,  add in the pork and make sure it is submerged in the liquid, adding more water if necessary in order to cover.

Brine at least 12 hours.  Remove from liquid, rinse well and pat dry.

Using kitchen gloves (rub adheres best if you do) vigorously rub the pork with the spices.

Smoker ready pork and chicken

Heat your smoker to 250, and place pork on a rack.  Start testing the pork for temperature after 7 hours.  Once it has reached 190 (yes, I know that seems high) it is done.  Here is the key part – tightly bundle the whole thing in a tin foil pack, not allowing any steam to escape and let it sit for at least an hour.  This will allow the moisture within the pork to redistribute and make for the most tender, flavourful pork ever!

A simple coleslaw recipe works best for piling on top of the pork – try Jean’s coleslaw on this site, and add a few pickled onions (also on this site).

 

 

Asian Marinade for Chicken or Pork

Asian Marinade for Chicken or Pork

 

I love the balance of flavours in this marinade, it just has the right amount of sweet, heat, sour and salt …. and caramelizes perfectly on the grill.  I find it works really well on pork chops or chicken thighs but I’m sure it would be great on just about anything.

1/4 cup vegetable oil

2 tbsp brown sugar

2 tbsp rice vinegar

1 tbsp minced ginger

1 tbsp Sriracha sauce

1 tbsp chile garlic paste

2 tsp sesame oil

3 cloves garlic, minced

zest & juice of 1 orange

juice of 1/2 lime

Make enough marinade for 8 pork chops or 12 chicken thighs.

Garnish:  lime, roughly chopped cilantro and green onions.

Place all marinade ingredients in food processor and give it a good whiz.  Pour half of it in a ziplock bag with meat and reserve the rest.  Give the meat a massage and allow to marinade for 30 minutes at the least and up to 8 hours.

Put reserved marinade in a small sauce pan and cook over moderate heat until reduced and thickened.

Heat grill, and grill meat, brushing with the reduced marinade.

 

 

General Tso’s Chicken

I’ve been working on this recipe for ages, trying to get the correct balance of flavours and I think this is it – finally nailed it. Every brand of these ingredients will be slightly different. Taste the marinade BEFORE adding raw chicken and make sure it tastes great – adjust as needed. Follow that plan with the sauce also, make sure each component of this dish tastes great before putting it all together.

Slightly spicy, slightly sticky and slightly sweet - a winning combination in this quick stir fry.

Slightly spicy, slightly sticky and slightly sweet – a winning combination in this quick stir fry.

CHICKEN & MARINADE
2 #’s boneless skinless chicken thighs – cut into bite size pieces

6 tbsp sesame oil
2 1/2 tbsp raw sugar
2 tbsp soy sauce
1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1 heaped tbsp Sambal Oelek (chile paste)
1 tbsp each minced garlic and ginger
1 tbsp corn starch

Combine marinade ingredients in bowl, stir in chicken and allow to sit in fridge for an hour.

SAUCE
2 tbsp yellow miso
2 tbsp light soy sauce
1 tbsp Sambal Oelek (chile paste)
1 tbsp tomato paste
1 tbsp rice vinegar
1 tsp light brown sugar

Stir well, and set aside

STIR FRY
peanut oil
2 small hot chile peppers
1 clove garlic, peeled and lightly crushed – but left whole
1/2 medium white onion, cut into 1/2″ dice
1/2 cup roasted peanuts
1 tbsp Shaoshing rice wine (or sherry wine for cooking)
1/2 each red and yellow sweet pepper, cut into 1/2″ dice
4 scallions, chopped into 1″ pieces

GARNISH
Toasted sesame seeds
thinly sliced green onions
thinly sliced hot red peppers

Heat wok over high heat until it starts to smoke, add enough peanut oil to lightly coat bottom – quickly toss in onions, garlic and chile peppers. Stir for 1 minute and add chicken. Toss and stir fry until chicken is slightly opaque, add peanuts and 1 tbsp rice wine. Add reserved sauce, peppers and cook until peppers are cooked through. Stir in large pieces of green onion.

Garnish with the sesame seeds, green onions and red peppers.

Serve with sesame jasmine rice, which is super simple! Just toss finely sliced chives into cooked rice along with toasted sesame seeds and a little sesame oil.