Who doesn't love chicken wings? They're packed with flavour and the perfect crowd-pleaser, so we decided to take a closer look at them in our latest Back To Basics guide.
As part of our Back to Basics series, we’re going to look at some common ingredients to help make sure our readers are making the most of the great produce that we have access to here in Ireland. Previously we looked at scallops and housekeeper’s cut of beef, today we're looking at chicken wings.
In 2015, Bord Bia reported that consumer demand for poultry had continued to rise year-on-year, with retail sales of fresh and chilled poultry reaching 40,000 tonnes, contributing to the average EU consumption per capita of 22kg. The world has truly gone chicken wing mad over the past few years, with the National Chicken Council of America reporting that our friends across the pond enjoy a whopping 1.38 billion wings during Super Bowl weekend alone. They're so popular in Ireland right now that a chicken wing festival was held in Bray this summer, with over 20 stalls visited by thousands of people from all over the country.
As with all chicken, wings are very high in protein and are a great source of iron. They also have a high content of B6 vitamins. They are usually cheaper than the breasts and can be bought bone in or out and with the skin on or off. Bone-in is usually the most widely available and often comes with the skin on. Skin-on wings are a little fattier than skin-off (and certainly more so than lean chicken breasts), but the skin provides a layer of protection to the meat, helping to ensure it doesn't dry out too much.
A chicken wing is actually composed of two parts, the drumette and the wingette. To break the wing down into these two parts, the wing needs to be flattened out and the wing tip removed. Then, use a sharp knife to cut through the joint between the drumette and wingette to separate the two.
The most common way to eat chicken wings is deep-fried and covered in spicy sauce, like buffalo or chilli, but wings can also be cooked in a variety of different ways. Often chicken wings come in large portions, which may be more than you can get through in one sitting. If this is the case, we recommend doing two things: making stock or freezing the wings.
The best way to freeze the wings, is to separate them out, as above, then place them on to parchment-lined trays. Wrap the trays up and place in the freezer for up to three months.
The best way to make stock is to use lots of caramelised chicken to pack the broth with lots of flavour. Chicken wings caramelise quite quickly and work very well for stock, so use them as your base to make sure your stock is as tasty as possible.
Need some recipe inspiration? We have lots of recipes on the site that we absolutely love, but this recipe for honey glazed wings might just be our favourite. The glaze gives the wings a delicious savoury-sweet flavour that you can't help but tuck into.
If you're looking for some sauces to glaze over your wings, we have two of our favourites in this post, including a sticky Korean flavour and garlic and herb. They're perfect for the next time you want to try a new flavour with your wings.
Keep an eye on the site for our next Back To Basics guide.