Thursday, October 10, 2013

Tailgatin' Thursday: Confit Chicken Wings with Homemade Sriracha-Bourbon Caramel Sauce, Buttermilk Bleu Cheese Dessing, + Italian-Style Shaved Carrot and Celery Slaw

Confit Chicken Wings with Homemade Sriracha-Bourbon Caramel Sauce, Buttermilk
Bleu Cheese Dessing, + Italian-Style Shaved Carrot and Celery Slaw
Tailgatin' Thursday is back and it's back with a bang, my friends!! I'm going to go ahead and tell y'all that this is an-honest-to-goodness-fancy-ass game day treat. Fried Chicken wings are a staple at any table on a Football Saturday. And it's not specific to any region. It is just good 'ole American comfort food at its' best. We don't feature many wing recipes around PLC, but when we do, it's always worth the effort. Wings are sometimes brined, most of the time coated with flour, and always deep fried in a vat of hot oil. What's not to love? Well then, how could these be any different from all the others, you may ask. Y'all, the answer is simple, and that is they are CONFIT CHICKEN WINGS. We are lovers, cough cough, obsessors of duck confit or anything confit (if we're gonna get technical). So, when I ordered a confit duck leg at one of our favorite local sandwich places, Muss + Turner's. It just suddenly clicked... I wonder if I could do this with chicken wings. I am positively, genuinely, and overwhelmingly happy to report that this oddity of an idea is completely + utterly deep fried perfection. To make cooking easier, we did most of the work the day before (a.k.a Friday afternoon and night), so that we wouldn't have much to do while the games were on. This meant we needed to place all the chicken into a deep pot, place it on the stove, cover with canola oil, and slowly bring it up to 200 degrees. Then you place it into a preheated oven to cook for roughly an hour. This will cook the meat, slowly but surely, making them super moist on the inside, yet leaving the skin slightly flabby + soft, rendering out a bunch of excess fat that isn't even needed. THIS IS A GOOD THING DO NOT FEAR.
the wings after slow-cooking in their big pot of oil, see the excess fat at the top??
After slow-cooking, remove the wings from the hot oil and drain on paper towels, making sure to remove access moisture and oil as much as possible. I actually let my wings sit on the paper towels at room temperature for about an hour or so to cool down a bit and aid in draining. Then y'all just pop those suckers into a container and refrigerate overnight. This is possibly the most important step in the entire recipe because, technically, you should be able to fry the wings after about an hour or two of resting & drying, BUT DON'T. When I did this, my wing skin just never ever ever ever got crispy. I believe it is was due to the fact that there was still so much leftover moisture. Now that the wings are-a-chillin', it's time to make the BEST part of the whole-damn-dish, and that's the Homemade Sriracha-Bourbon Caramel. Yes, I didn't mess that up... sriracha. caramel. bourbon. sea salt. All in one sauce. We were literally drooling over this concoction; our minds were racing with ideas of how to use it next (sriracha caramel over pumpkin ice cream... apple cider floats with sriracha caramel... sriracha caramel apple pie). This shit is gonna get weird. But, weird in a good way, believe you me. It's a salty-sweet-boozy goodness that must be kept in your fridge at all times, and if not, at least it should be made for these wings. 
homemade sriracha-bourbon caramel wing sauce + confit chicken wings (pre-cornstarch)
Making the caramel is a cinch; however, I certainly recommend whipping it up while the wings are in the oven because it will be that much easier on you the next day... just make sure you refrigerate it as well. The last step of preparation is totally up to you and that's the making of the Buttermilk Bleu Cheese Dressing. It's is overly easy to prepare as well and letting the flavors meld for a little bit ain't neva hurt a thang, butter bean. OKAY OKAY, enough about the prepping, now onto the next day (a.k.a. Football Saturday). Pull the chilled wings out and once again dry as much as possible, and then toss them in a light coating of cornstarch. Bring the 1Q of Peanut Oil to 400 degrees that way the wings will get finger-lickin'-skin-pickin' crispy. 
deep frying, the south's favorite, and most famous, past time
While the wings are frying in the golden goodness that is oil, it's time to make the caramel sauce that will coat the wings. I simmered the prepared caramel, Asian chili-garlic sauce, red pepper flakes, and butter until a cohesive sauce was made and it was thick enough to coat a wing. I left the amount of spice + butter up to you, as we are so spicy-friendly that we tend to overdo it. So add a little bit of chili-garlic sauce and red pepper flakes at a time, tasting to your preference. If it does get a little too spicy, add a little more butter. If I could share one tidbit of life advice with you, it would be not to be afraid of butter, it's the elixir of life. Toss the fried confit chicken wings in your extra-special-it-should-only-be-used-on-special-occasions-it-is-so-good caramel sauce and garnish them with a sprinkling of toasted sesame seeds and a pinch of red pepper flakes. 
fried + sauced + tossed
resist the temptation to gobble these down before you can even plate them
Serve the wings with some of the Homemade Buttermilk Bleu Cheese Dressing to cool the wings down a bit. And if one fancy ass twist on the original isn't enough, I decided to revamp the whole boring "side of carrot and celery sticks" into a slaw. I shaved carrots and celery, minced green onion, and then tossed it in a light vinaigrette. It is the perfect acidic component to partner up against the decadent wings and rich dressing. To seal the deal, I got a "these are the best wings I've ever had in my whole life" outta my Mountain Man. And that's one hell of a stamp of approval, y'all!! Enjoy :)

up close + personal of the fancy "carrot + celery stick" slaw

For the Homemade Sriracha-Bourbon Caramel:
1C Sugar + ¼C Water
½C Heavy Cream + 3T Sriracha Sauce
1T Bourbon
Heavy Pinch of Salt 

For the Confit Chicken Wings:
4lbs Chicken Wings + Drumsticks
2Q Canola Oil + 1Q Peanut Oil
Cornstarch, For Coating (after chilling)

For the Sriracha-Bourbon Caramel Wing Sauce:
1C Homemade Sriracha-Bourbon Caramel (room temperature)
1-2T Asian Chili-Garlic Sauce
½t-1t Red Pepper Flakes (depending on how hot your like it)
4-8T Unsalted Butter (the more better you add, the less spicy it will be as well)

For the Buttermilk Bleu Cheese Dressing:
½C Homemade Mayo + ¼C Sour Cream
2T Buttermilk Powder + 1T Well-Shaken Buttermilk
2T White Wine Vinegar
¼t Worcestershire Sauce
1t Sugar  
¼t Garlic Powder + Onion Powder
1T Fresh Chives + Fresh Dill
½C Crumbled Buttermilk Blue Cheese
For the Italian-Style Shaved Carrot and Celery Slaw:
½C Shaved Carrots (using a vegetable peeler)           
½C Shaved Celery (using a vegetable peeler)
1 Green Onion, Minced
2T White Wine Vinegar
1T Olive Oil
1T Sugar
¼t Dried Oregano + Dried Basil
Salt & Pepper, To Taste


1. For the Confit Chicken Wings: Adjust oven rack to lower-middle position and preheat oven to 225°F. Place 2Q canola oil and chicken wings in a large oven-safe Dutch oven. Heat over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally, until it registers 200°F on an instant-read or deep-fry thermometer. Cover pot and transfer to oven. Cook until chicken wings are tender but not browned, 40 minutes to 1 hour (chicken should be tender but not falling apart). Remove pot from oven. Transfer chicken with a wire mesh spider to a rimmed baking sheet lined with paper towels. Allow chicken to rest in the fridge, covered, overnight or for at least 12 hours.
2. Making the Homemade Sriracha-Bourbon Caramel: Simmer sugar and ¼ cup water on medium heat, swirling pan (NOT stirring) for about 15 minutes, or until a deep amber color is reached. During that time, whisk together the heavy cream and Sriracha sauce until smooth and incorporated. Then turn off burner, remove from heat and slowly add Sriracha cream while stirring. Add pinch of salt and bourbon and place back on still-warm burner for another minute while stirring. Transfer to a heat-safe dish or bottle and let cool. Store covered in the refrigerator, and bring to room temperature or heat in a warm water bath before using (if needed).
3. For the Buttermilk Bleu Cheese Dressing: Combine mayonnaise, sour cream, buttermilk powder, and buttermilk in small bowl; mix until smooth. Stir in vinegar, Worcestershire sauce, sugar, seasonings, and herbs until well blended. Fold in cheese. Refrigerate until ready to use.
4. Frying the Wings: Once the wings have chilled, lightly coat them in cornstarch, making sure to shake off any excess. Meanwhile, heat the 1Q of peanut oil in a deep fryer to 400°F. Carefully add the wings, in small batches, and cook until golden brown + extra crispy, about 10-12 minutes (depending on your fryer). While the wings fry prepare your sauce.
5. For the Sriracha-Bourbon Caramel Wing Sauce:  When ready to serve, combine caramel, chili-garlic sauce, red pepper flakes, and butter in a small saucepan over medium-low heat and cook, stirring occasionally, until butter is completely melted and the sauce is smooth. Transfer to a large bowl and immediately toss the hot, crispy wings in the sauce until they are completely coated.
6. For the Italian-Style Shaved Carrot and Celery Slaw: In a medium mixing bowl, toss together the shaved carrots, shaved celery, and minced green onion. In a small bowl or Mason jar, whisk or shake together the vinegar, oil, sugar, and seasonings until fully incorporated. Right before serving, toss the slaw with the vinaigrette until coated. Serve on the side with the wings.
7. Serving: Place the wings onto a serving plate and drizzle over any excess or leftover caramel for extra flavor. Sprinkle some toasted sesame seeds and red pepper flakes on top for garnish. Spoon some of the homemade bleu cheese dressing onto the plate and finish with a pile of the slaw. Enjoy while the wings are still hot and crispy!!

Read. To. EATTTTTTT :)

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