Lemon, Thyme and Balsamic Chicken Wings
Oh the weather outside is frightful .............. yes it's the start of an old song but that is exactly what is happening on the other side of my windowpane, we have strong winds with torrential rain that is so heavy the gutters can't cope with it and there seems to be waterfalls coming off this old house of ours all over the place.
And then yesterday and today we had a slight respite from the torrential rain and instead we had hailstones with a little thunder and lightning thrown in.
But every now and then I can see a glimpse of wonderful blue sky and a glint of sunshine, in those mad few minutes I dive outside to see whether enough rain has arrived to refill my garden pond which is full to the brim with too many waterlillies and yellow flag irises, no flowers yet of course just this amazing amount of greenery that is sucking up all the water faster than it accumulates despite the downpours.
But I know that Summer is definitely on it's way and with it the promise of hot afternoons in the garden sipping cold drinks and eating barbecued foods and so with that in mind I have made one of my favourite chicken dishes; Lemon, Thyme and Balsamic Chicken Wings (unfortunately in this weather it's being cooked on the hob) but nevertheless still scrumptious and succulent chicken wings are stacked and waiting to be devoured by my hungry family and if there's any left over my son will squirrel them away for his lunch tomorrow.
3 tablespoons of Olive Oil
2-3 tablespoons of Organic Unwaxed Lemons, freshly squeezed
1 tablespoon of Balsamic Vinegar
3 Organic Garlic Cloves, crushed
¼-½ teaspoon of Chilli Powder, according to taste
6 sprigs of Lemon Thyme or Thyme
Instructions for 10-12 Chicken Wings:
Most of the time involved in making this dish is the actual preparation of which only a tiny, tiny percentage is where you actually have to do anything other than wait, basically you need to make the marinate the day before so that all those wonderful flavours can permeate the chicken wings and then before you cook them you need to wait for the chicken to come up to room temperature, saying that this is a very, very simple dish to make, so here goes.
- Using a strong bladed knife, do not use your best knife for this as it will get ruined, if you have a kitchen axe then that would be ideal, I have some old steak straight bladed steak knives which are ideal for this job, so with your weapon of choice first of all cut off the tips of the wings and then holding the end of the wing cut the wings in half. I hold the wing in my left hand and angle the knife down into the joint but turned slightly towards my left hand and there is a natural break in the bone line and your knife will go through it fairly easily (as long as your knife is sharp). If you're not used to doing this I promise that after a couple of goes you will know what I'm talking about and be doing it like a professional.
- Place the chicken wings into a non-metallic dish, this is because we're marinading the chicken wings and you don't want a metallic taste to develop in the chicken (yuk), the dish should hold the wings snugly.
- Hint: I seldom have room in my fridge for dishes of marinating meat so more often than not I place meat and marinade in a sealable freezer bag, seal it, squish it all around so that everything gets evenly covered and then place that in the fridge, it won't spill, hopefully it won't leak and it leaves plenty of room. Also if your plans change and you do something else for dinner you can put the bagged meat and marinade straight into the freezer for defrosting another day.
- Now we get to play with the marinade, there's no finesse about this, bung everything together, or if you're posh, mix all your marinade ingredients together, pour this over the chicken wings and stir to ensure that all the chicken gets an even coating and cover with clingfilm, or if it's in a bag seal it and squish it all until it's thoroughly coated.
- Place the chicken wings in the fridge preferably overnight, oh please do it overnight it makes such a difference to the flavour, if you really can't do it the day before then I will allow you a 3 hour time slot in the fridge, pretty please overnight.
- If you can manage it I go in and baste the chicken wings and turn them to make sure they get totally marinated, or squish the bag a few times whenever you're in the fridge for the milk or eating the chocolate biscuits that are hidden in the salad drawer. Well the kids don't go in the salad drawer do they?!
- When you're ready to cook the chicken wings remove them from the fridge and leave for at least 20 minutes to bring them up to room temperature. Time for another cup of tea or coffee.
- If you're cooking on a barbecue these should take (depending on how hot your coals are) 10 minutes per side, try not to incinerate them, nothing worse than burnt ash-ridden chicken, and occasionally baste them with the marinade.
- If you're cooking indoors place them on a coldgriddle/hotplate, yes cold, no I'm not mad we are going to turn it on, and if you're cooking a spatchcocked chicken I put that in a cold oven too, it makes it wonderfully crispy.
- Right back to the griddle/hotplate - turn your heat to medium and wait for the chicken to start sizzling, now cover the chicken with a domed lid, or a wok, this is going to help steam the chicken slightly and keep in all that lovely moisture and flavour. Cook for 10 minutes, baste them occasionally, try not to move or turn them and this way you'll get those wonderful nubs of sticky crisp skin that are so addictive.
- Remove the lid or wok, be careful not to lean over it and get scalded by the steam. Now turn your chicken wings over and cook for a further 5 minutes, continuing to baste at which point both sides of your wings will be a lovely crispy golden brown.
- Do not eat!
- Place them in a dish and cover with foil, leave to rest for a few minutes and trust me they will be much juicer when you eat them once they have rested.
Place them in a serving dish, and at this point I like to sprinkle them with some sea salt and a few lemon segments incase anyone wants an extra hit of lemon with their chicken, and my husband likes to add dried chilli flakes as he's a heat fiend.
These chicken wings are the perfect finger food for all occasions; parties, barbecues or ideal on a Saturday afternoon slumped in front of the television with a cold beer sort of a day.
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