Super Bowl 55 & the Best Buffalo Wings Ever. Sunday is a milestone in American sport the fifty-fifth Super Bowl. This year will be a little different as many people will not be able to watch the game in their local bar with an ice-cold beer and some food. So many people will be watching at home and making their own Superbowl snacks. What then are the top snacks piled on the table tops across the USA I hear you ask? Heaps of Nachos with spicy dips. Bacon stuffed crispy potato skins. Beer broiled Hot dogs smothered in onions, cheese, mustard, and ketchup. Spicy buttered corn-on-the-cob and sticky BBQ ribs all washed down with ice-cold beer will all be popular. But THE Super Bowl snack is the Buffalo Wing.
Why do we eat Buffalo Wings?
Having been a professional chef a long time potato skins were what your potato came in. Often as not they were peeled off and thrown away. The only time you saw a chicken wing in a hotel or restaurant kitchen was in a stockpot. Cooks at home used the chicken carcass, neck, and wings to make stock. A base for hearty soups and nothing was wasted. However, with the advent of commercialization of poultry farming and of mass refrigeration throughout the food supply chain from a producer, supplier, distributor, and in the home, customers became ever more able to pick and choose their favourite part of the bird. People wanted the thigh, breast, and leg consequently butcher’s almost paid the chef to take away the wings which no one wanted.
On October 30, 1964, in New York, at the now legendary Anchor Bar*, the owner Teressa Bellissimo created a late-night snack for her son and his friends. At hand, a surfeit of chicken wings, which she deep-fried, dressed in a sticky, sweet chilli flavoured butter sauce and served them with celery sticks and a creamy, blue cheese dip.
Two more great An Island Chef Wing recipes
So why are they called Buffalo Wings again?
The buffalo wings, well they are from Buffalo, I knew you were going to ask me about that. Buffalo is the second-largest city in New York State, situated on the eastern shore of Lake Erie and some sixteen miles south of the mighty Niagara Falls. I guess we must be thankful the bar was not in Shawangunk or Cheektowaga.
The wings became popular and for a while, they were free on the bar for regulars. Since that day chicken or ‘Buffalo’ wings have become a little more popular. It is estimated a mammoth 1.25 billion wings were eaten during the 50th Super bowl. Today chicken wings are now universally popular and you can find an amazing variety. The very, very hot, sweet and sticky, Korean, as well as the more traditional hickory style.
* The city of Buffalo has designated July 29 as “Chicken Wing Day,” and today, the Anchor Bar serves up more than 70 thousand pounds of chicken per month. The Anchor Bar original recipe for hot sauce is now sold commercially.
What to Drink? Medium spiced Buffalo wings are best paired German-style Riesling wines or hoppy Continental-style Pilsner lagers and American IPA beers, like this citrus packed, hoppy in your face Shipyard Pale Ale.
Buffalo Wings are a personal favourite I love the mix of spicy chicken, cool full of flavour blue cheese dip and crisp celery. This easy convenient recipe bakes the wings instead of frying. It is a little more healthy – just and so much easier.
Oven Baked Buffalo Wings
For the Wings
- 1 kg Chicken Wings about 12 wings
- 3 tablespoons Butter
- 4 Cloves Garlic peeled and very finely crushed
- 6 tablespoons good Tomato Ketchup
- 1 tablespoon bottled Hot Pepper Sauce
- 1 tablespoon Honey
- 2 tablespoon Dry Sherry
- 1 tablespoon Smoked Paprika
- ½ teaspoon Cayenne Pepper
- Sea Salt and freshly ground Black Pepper
For the Blue Cheese Dip
- 125 ml Sour Cream
- 125 ml Mayonnaise
- 100 gr mild Blue Cheese crumbled ( I use Danish Blue )
- 1 tablespoon quality Cider Vinegar
- 1 Clove Garlic peeled and very finely crushed
- A generous pinch or two of Celery Salt
- Freshly ground Black Pepper
- Celery sticks
- For consistent, even cooking in the oven I cut up the wings by first removing the wing tips, they can go into the freezer ready for the stockpot. Then cut wings into two pieces, at the joint. Put chicken wing pieces in a large glass bowl, season generously, cover with cling film and set to one side. ( Make sure you thoroughly wash the board you cut the raw chicken on ).
- In a medium, heavy-bottomed saucepan melt the butter and sauté the garlic over a low heat, without burning for two minutes. Add the ketchup, hot pepper sauce, dry sherry, smoked paprika and cayenne pepper and cook for five more minutes stirring constantly. Remove from the heat and allow to thoroughly cool down. When cold pour all but a couple of tablespoons of the marinade over the chicken pieces in the bowl. Cover with fresh cling film and place in the refrigerator and marinate for at least two hours.
- Preheat your oven to 375F / 190C / Gas mark 5. Drain the chicken pieces and place on a wire rack over a metal roasting pan. Bake for thirty to thirty-five minutes, until the chicken is tender and no longer pink. The sticky marinade may char, don’t worry this all adds to the flavour. Remove from oven and baste with reserved marinade.
- Serve with celery sticks and blue cheese dip.
- For the Blue cheese dip, combine dip ingredients – sour cream, mayonnaise, blue cheese, vinegar, and garlic – in a blender or food processor. Blend or pulse until smooth. Cover and chill. The dip can be made ahead and will keep for a couple of days in the refrigerator.