Sticky chicken wings and a punchy blue cheese dip: two very compatible bed-fellows that always guarantee foodie happiness. Not to mention very messy fingers!
These sticky chicken wings are seriously moreish: they are also so simple to prepare and make: you literally mix the chicken wings with the sauce ingredients, cook them either in a very hot oven or on the BBQ so there is a hint of charring and dive in!
To make these even better, you can reduce the remaining marinade to glaze over the wings if you can wait a few more minutes before tucking in!
Good quality chicken wings makes all the difference; as well as the ethical benefits, I much prefer the flavour of free-range, organic wings. You can use the whole wings or cut them up if you prefer more elegant bites!
Similarly, the blue cheese dip is merely a matter of mixing together a few ingredients. SO much better (tastier, cheaper, arguably healthier – well, without the chemical additions at any rate!) than the bottled horrors that can be bought.
Garlic in the dip!
I confess that I am a garlic addict, so in the dip I have used a bulb of garlic (yes – a whole bulb!). However, the garlic has been slowly roasted before using, which brings out a gorgeous sweetness and mellowness.
To roast garlic, simply pop the whole bulb (no peeling, separating or anything) onto a baking tray and into an oven set to about 150C for an hour or so. The garlic will soften up to a pulp and all you do is prise apart the cloves and squeeze that delicious garlic paste into the dip.
Actually, just the roasted garlic spread onto bread and devoured is a foodie joy in itself!
A small amount of raw garlic is also added to the dip and this gives the punch that a dip such as this deserves – and goes some way towards matching the powerful flavour of the blue cheese.
Recipe: the best sticky BBQ wings with blue cheese dip – serves 4-6 for gentle grazing
- about 1kg chicken wings
- 4 tablespoons wine vinegar or cider vinegar
- 5 tablespoons tomato ketchup
- 1 tablespoon black treacle
- 3 tablespoons runny honey
- 2 tablespoons sugar (caster, granulated or soft brown)
- 6 tablespoons whisky, optional
- 1 tablespoon smoked paprika
Blue cheese dip:
- 100g Danish Blue cheese (or blue cheese of choice)
- 150g cream cheese
- 50g crème fraîche
- large bulb of garlic, slowly roasted (see above)
- 1 fat clove of garlic, peeled and crushed
- juice of about half a lemon
- a couple of grindings of black pepper
- 2 teaspoons smoked paprika, plus a little extra for the top
- a handful of chopped chives, spring onions or chilli (or combination!)
(1) Use a sharp knife to make a couple of cuts in the wings, going down to the bone. If you prefer, you can cut each wing into two pieces.
(2) Put the chicken and the marinade ingredients into a large bowl and give it all a good stir: go in with your hands to get everything coated. Pop inside a large plastic bag or into an airtight container and chill ideally overnight – although you can cook them straight away if you wish.
(3) For the dip, put all the ingredients into a bowl and mash with a fork. I like to have a few small chunks of blue cheese still there, but if you prefer you can put the dip ingredients into a small food processer and blitz until smooth. Spoon into small bowls or ramekins and sprinkle over a little smoked paprika before serving.
(4) To cook the chicken in the oven, preheat the oven to about 200C (fan). Place the chicken on a baking tray (lined with a silicone mat or greaseproof) and spoon a little of the marinade on top of each.
(5) Cook for about 15-20 minutes until the chicken is bubbling on top and there are several black-tinged bits.
(6) The wings are ready to eat like this, but if you want a seriously impressive glaze smothering them, pop the remaining marinade into a small pan while the chicken wings are cooking and bring to a simmer. Reduce a little until it becomes thicker and slightly syrupy. Pour over the cooked chicken wings, stirring to coat them. Scatter over chopped chives or spring onions and serve with the dip.