Eros-and-Thanatos Buffalo Wings with Homemade Blue-Cheese Dressing

September 12, 2010 § 11 Comments

Now here’s a dish so intense, it should come with a safe word. The intoxicating heat of the sticky, tangy hot sauce, contrasted with the creamy, garlic-spiked blue-cheese dressing, makes for one of the most exciting flavor experiences in my book. Although I don’t normally enjoy hot foods in other contexts, all boundaries are erased when buffalo wings enter the scene. Physical, spiritual, and moral self-destruction just don’t get any better than this.

What? Buffalo wings a moral choice? Let me explain. You see, enjoying buffalo wings is not without controversy in my particular cultural and gastronomic milieu. Understand now that I live in a community where people buy mostly local-organic, take Food, Inc. seriously, and don’t often deep-fry their supper. Kale, rice, and granola are frequent visitors to their table, and honey is often used in place of white sugar. I even know of die-hards whose only sugar for the year comes from homemade maple syrup.

You have surely noticed that I am very much the product of this culture myself – not only do I make most things from scratch, I use almost exclusively meat and eggs raised outside my front door. This is why, to me, cooking up a bag of storebotten, conventionally-raised chicken wings is accompanied by a mix of guilt, shame, and the dark enjoyment of the forbidden. This is why, from time to time, I find myself driving to a mainstream supermarket, where bagged chicken wings beacon from their frosty bed in the freezer case. In a society where behavioral puritanism has been replaced by nutritional puritanism, bringing home factory-farm chicken makes me feel like Hester Prynne of the locavore age, sporting a wing-sauce-red “C” for conventional. I must admit though that, in this case, the flavor more than makes up for the moral repercussions.

Either way, once the wings are on my counter, there’s only one thing left to do:

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Here they are. The evil ones. I used 2 lb.

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I sprinkle them generously with seasoned salt, pepper, and cayenne. Since you are going to hell anyway, might as well add some kick.

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Mix it all together.

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Now I like my wings coated in flour, because it makes the sauce adhere better. The best way to coat chicken pieces in flour is to place flour and chicken together in a bag and shake the heck out of it (I like to do 4 at a time).

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Dust off the excess as you remove the pieces from the bag (or not) – doesn’t this technique do a nice job? Learned it from my mother-in-law. That and many other things.

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Now heat approximately 2″ of [CHEAP] vegetable oil in a dutch oven over medium-high heat until the thermometer registers 375 degrees. Cook the wings in oil for about half an hour, over medium heat, moving them around with tongs from time to time so they don’t stick to the bottom (learned that from The Pioneer Woman).

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When nice and golden-brown-ish, remove them onto a triple layer of paper towels.

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Now melt a stick of butter over medium heat… my tried-and-true way to start just about anything.

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Now add 1/2 C of hot sauce (I like Frank’s) to the butter and whisk together. Or more. Or more.

Now grab a bottle of Tabasco and shake it into the resulting sauce with wild abandon. The precise amount of Tabasco is up to you, but I like quite a bit. Best of all would be to taste it as you go. And here’s Sofya’s special touch – a bit of black pepper.

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Now place the wings into the sauce without crowding them, and use a spoon to turn and coat the wings completely.

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Now aren’t you glad you floured your wings first?

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And here they are – more evil than before.

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Now this is particularly nice with homemade ranch or blue-cheese dressing (recipe follows).

Eros-and-Thanatos Buffalo Wings

Adapted from The Pioneer Woman Cooks and my friend Tom’s new cookbook The Commonsense Kitchen (that is, its original homespun version).

Wings:

  • 2 lb chicken wing sections (if using whole wings, cut through the joint between the drumette and the middle section, and then again between the middle section and the tip, discarding the tip).
  • a dash of seasoned salt
  • a dash of black pepper
  • a pinch of cayenne
  • 1/2 C flour (or more as needed)
  • vegetable oil

Wing Sauce:

  • 1 stick of butter
  • 1/2 C Frank’s Hot Sauce, or more if desired
  • Tabasco
  • a dash of black pepper

Rinse the wings and dry them well with paper towels. Sprinkle them with seasoned salt, pepper, and cayenne and mix. Place flour in a plastic bag, add chicken pieces (4 at a time), hold the bag closed, and shake until the chicken is well-coated. Transfer to a plate. Repeat with the rest of the chicken.

Heat about 2 inches of oil in a dutch oven over medium to medium-high heat until the thermometer registers 375 degrees. Reduce the heat to medium. Using tongs, carefully place all the chicken pieces into the hot oil. Cook for approximately 30 minutes, or until light golden-brown, using tongs to move the wings around in the oil from time to time to prevent them from sticking to the bottom. Remove to a triple layer of paper towels.

Melt butter in saucepan over medium heat. Add the hot sauce and Tabasco to taste. Sprinkle with black pepper. Whisk to combine. In batches, add the chicken pieces to the sauce and stir to coat. Remove to a platter. Serve with ranch or blue-cheese dressing (recipe follows).

Sofya’s Homemade Blue-Cheese Dressing

Note: I find that adding crumbled blue cheese to the dressing leaves me with most of the cheese left behind in a bowl when it comes to dipping wings in the dressing. This is why (and I am particularly proud of thinking of this one), as a final touch, I like to use my immersion blender to make everything smooth and silky. No chunks.

  • 1/2 mayonnaise
  • 1/4 – 1/3 C plain yogurt (or more to taste, depending on how acidic your batch of yogurt happens to be)
  • 1 garlic clove, minced or pressed
  • 1/4 C (approximately – adjust the amount to taste) crumbled blue cheese (I prefer Danish)

Whisk together yogurt and mayonnaise. Add garlic and blue cheese and stir. Use an immersion blender to turn the mixture into a smooth sauce.

§ 11 Responses to Eros-and-Thanatos Buffalo Wings with Homemade Blue-Cheese Dressing

  • Tom Hudgens says:

    Thanks for taking us along on your “naughty” buffalo wing journey! I feel so conspiratorial! For a final authentic touch, you need some celery sticks, too. In Buffalo, NY, they always serve wings with a little side of celery sticks. To go with your theme, of course it should be out-of-season, non-organic celery, shipped from California!

  • Sofya says:

    Nah, I am not trying to make it worse than it already is.

  • mike w. says:

    I should not be looking at this during lunchtime!

    Looks amazing!

  • George says:

    In honor of Dennis Miller, I’m making an obscure reference: Are the wings so named, in part, from the Thanatos Palace Hotel? Viva la referencia obscura!

  • Sofya says:

    Nope, that’s not why.

  • Jim says:

    When you say a stick of butter, how much do you mean? I’d take it to mean an entire pound! I can live with the idea, but I think wings like that – as good as they look – would have to be about a once a year thing.

    You can blame thank Breda for my curiosity.

    Jim

    • Sofya says:

      Jim – a stick is a quarter-pound (1/2 cup), you know how butter comes in individually-wrapped sticks? This is exactly how much I use in the picture above. Also, some of the sauce is left behind in the pan, which, if you think of it, doesn’t sound so economical, but it won’t be so hard on you.

      Also – you know that butter is good for you, right? Animal fats are the best fats we can eat, since many vitamins and such are fat-soluble. Anyhow, that’s a Weston A. Price-foundation view, if you wanna look that up, and I believe in it firmly.

  • Jim says:

    Also, it appears my <s>-fu is weak tonight.

    Jim

    • Sofya says:

      What was that again?

      • Jim says:

        My first comment reads with a little more wit had I gotten the html right so that “blame” was struck through and replaced with “thank”.

        As for the butter a quarter-stick I can live with just fine. I’ll take real food over hydrogenated axle grease any day of the week.

        Jim

        PS – Struck through like this.

  • Sofya says:

    “hydrogenated axle grease” – I like that!

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