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Spicy Cranberry Chicken Wings

If you're looking for a different take on traditional chicken wings for your next football party, try these tongue-tingling chicken wings. Dried cranberries give an intense cranberry flavor without the bulk of fresh cranberries. The sweet-tart tang of the cranberries mingles with a complex medley of spices and the hot kick of pepper sauce. This thick, flavourful sauce is then draped over savoury chicken wings. A quick run under the broiler gives them deep colour and crisp edges with just a hint of mouthwatering char for a unique and enticing version of this game day favorite. 

Ingredients

  • 3/4 cup Wild Coast dried cranberries
  • 2 cups water
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon ground mustard
  • 2 tablespoons hot pepper sauce
  • 2 tablespoons reduced-sodium soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon cider vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon grated orange zest
  • 2 pounds chicken wings
  • salt and pepper

Directions

1. Combine the dried cranberries and water in a medium-sized saucepan. Cooking over medium-low heat, bring to a simmer, then remove from the heat. Let sit for 30 minutes to allow the cranberries to plump and soften. 

2. Transfer the cranberries and water to a food processor and pulse until the berries are chopped in fine pieces. Return to the saucepan.

3. Add the brown sugar, ground mustard, hot pepper sauce, soy sauce, cider vinegar, garlic powder, and orange zest to the pan. Bring to a simmer over medium-low heat, then cook, stirring constantly, for 5-10 minutes, or until thick and syrupy. Remove from heat.

4. Preheat oven to 200 degrees C (400 degrees F). Place the chicken wings on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Don't crowd them, so they have plenty of space to get a golden brown. Season to your preference with salt and pepper.

5. Bake for 20 minutes. Remove the baking sheet from the oven, turn the wings over carefully, and return to the oven for 20 more minutes. When the wings are golden brown and reach an internal temperature of  74°C (165°F), remove them from the oven.

6. In a large bowl, toss the wings in the sauce. Set the oven to broil. Place the wings back on the baking sheet and return to the oven.

7. Broil the wings for 2-3 minutes, until they just start to blister. Turn the wings over, and broil the other side for 2-3 minutes.

8. Let sit for a few minutes to cool, plate, and serve.

Notes: Do not skip putting the parchment paper on the baking sheet. The sweet sauce will caramelize into something that will require a lot of scrubbing to get clean!

Feel free to play with the amount of hot pepper sauce, according to how much spice you prefer. Halve it or double it, it's entirely up to you.

Watch the wings very closely under the broiler. You don't want to miss out on all the flavor that comes with some crisp, dark edges, but they can burn quickly.

If you prefer, you can cut each wing at the joints into three parts before baking. Discard the wing tips, or save them for making stock. You will need to use more baking sheets to give the wings enough room to brown. Reduce the baking time by half.

For a lively sports party, include this sweet, tangy, and spicy take on traditional chicken wings. They may not ease the pain if your team loses, but they will have you and your guests happily licking your fingers. The zing of cranberry is a surprising and delicious pairing with savoury spice. Share these with family and friends -- and don't forget the napkins!

 


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