Wings most fowl
Boneless chicken breasts have been in short supply around here. The wholesale to the public warehouse’s choices were so limited, wings were just about the only option. Not that I don’t like wings. But if there are wings available, where are the breasts from those chickens? Are the puppet masters hoarding chicken breasts now so they can gouge us at the register later? No shortage of conspiracy theories these days.
The realization that there are no games on while I wolf the wings down fills me with a certain emptiness. Another sign of the times. Many of us have tried watching reruns of classic sports contests to fill the void. Regardless of whether I remember the original outcome, not even the final two minutes capture my interest. The film quality of events just a few years old is strangely underwhelming–another painful reminder of generalized pathos.
Preheat the sous vide bath to 135 F/57 C.
Members of our Facebook Group are familiar with the scientific evidence explaining that other than the sodium ions (salt) they contain, marinades cannot penetrate the surface of proteins beyond a millimeter or two. Neither can they tenderize those proteins. Even celebrity chefs and trade magazines have finally come to admit that this is true. My many detractors still revile me for having asserted it over the years. They do not know how much I WANTED to believe that marinades worked. Of the dashed romantic notions that I have accumulated over the years, that ranks fairly high on the list.
Chicken wings, 1 lb/450 g.
Buttermilk powder, 1 Tablespoon.
Powdered egg white (meringue powder), 1 Tablespoon.
Buttermilk, 0.5 cups.
Kosher salt, 2 teaspoons.
Ground black pepper, a pinch.
Dried parsley, optional.
Flour, 0.5 cups.
Shortening, 2 Tablespoons.
Baking soda, 1 Tablespoon.
Shortening for deep fry–at least 1 qt/1 liter. After use, don’t just throw it out in dismay. Line a metal colander with paper towels and strain into a pan. Even if you are using an actual deep fryer. Closing the lid does not preserve the oil–it should be strained every time. Keep cool and covered. The oil, I mean.
Seal the chicken wings in a heat rated bag in a single layer and process at
135 F/57 C for 5 hours.
When they’re done, shock in iced water to 70 F/21 C and 40 F/4 C. I silently troll other FB sous vide groups and see many horrifying things. I have to ask myself where the admins are, but I suppose they may be in the emergency room somewhere complaining of abdominal pain. Among the many horrifying things I see are people talking about pulling food out of the bath and then just “throwing it in the fridge.” Do not do this. If you don’t know why not, maybe you should read THIS.
Always a single layer only, we knew that, right?
135 F/57 C is 135 F/57 C, no matter what, there is going to be some pink. We know that color is not an indication of doneness, right? If it were, prosciutto would be dangerous.
Gently break them apart. At this low temperature, there was almost no purge. These were also the hoity toity free range organics, so, well, the processing practices might be a little different.
Powders–the flour, the dried buttermilk, the powdered egg white.
The salt, the pepper, the dried parsley.
the buttermilk (wet).
Results may vary, but when you moosh them all together with your gloved hands, you should end up with a sticky, gooey thing without much excess batter on the paper.
Bagged, moosh as needed.
Preheat shortening to 300 F/150 C. It should be deep enough so that everything gets submerged, so do what you got to do.
Dredge the battered wings in flour (you can add a little baking soda if you like) so that the surface is dry. Shake off the excess so you don’t trash the oil. This prevents the wings from sticking to the bottom of the pan, which causes the batter to come off and burn in the oil and make a huge mess in general. Take it from me.
First day up close…
First day from above….
Second day up close. There must be a happy hour or a sporting even somewhere.
Wing sauce in a plastic cup.
Wing sauce in a plastic cup up close.