Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Hot Wings with Blue Cheese Yogurt Sauce

Occasionally, I watch the show "Throwdown with Bobby Flay."   In each episode, Bobby Flay challenges a cook or chef known for making the best of a particular dish.  In one episode, Bobby challenges the "Wing King," Drew Cerza to a throwdown to determine who makes the best wings.

People who know me know I love wings.  At first, I loved wings with the hottest sauce that was served.  I still remember one bar I went to in my home town where I had an informal challenge with the cook.  He would make the wings as hot as he could and I would eat them.  The showdown came one day, when I was with my dad at the bar.  The waitress brought out the wings, with her arms fully extended (so as to avoid breathing the fumes).  I ate all of the wings, and, in the end, the cook expressed amazement.  I remember his words well, "damn, I used an entire bottle of Tabasco sauce to make those."  

Today, I still like hot wings, but, now I am more interested in sauces with complex flavors, rather than simply sauces that are the hottest that I could find.  This recipe calls for the use of various chiles, namely  ancho, hatch and chipotle.  These chiles add not only heat, but a smoky flavor as well.  And, while Drew Cerza may have beaten Bobby Flay in the throwdown, I think that Bobby's recipe is the better one. 

Adapted from a recipe by Bobby Flay
Serves many

Ingredients for the Wings:
3 pounds of chicken wings
3 tablespoons of ancho chile powder
1 1/2 teaspoons of garlic powder
1/2 cup red wine vinegar
2 tablespoons of pureed chipotle chiles in adobo sauce
1 tablespoon of Hatch chili powder
1 tablespoon of dijon mustard
2 tablespoons of honey
1 stick of unsalted butter

Ingredients for the Sauce:
Chopped fresh cilantro for garnish (optional)
1 cup of Greek yogurt
1/4 cup of crumbled blue cheese
2 tablespoons of finely grated red onion
2 tablespoons of finely chopped cilantro
Salt, to taste
Ground pepper, to taste

1. Make the blue cheese sauce.   Combine the yogurt, blue cheese, onion and cilantro in a small bowl and then salt and pepper to taste.  Refrigerate for at least thirty (30) minutes prior to serving.

2.  Prep the dry rub for the wings.  Heat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.  Add the 1 tablespoon of ancho chili powder and garlic powder in a bowl.  Season with salt and pepper.  Lay the wings on a baking tray and sprinkle the powder over the wings.  Cook the wings for at least 30 minutes or until done.

3.  Prepare the sauce for the wings.  Bring the vinegar, chipotle puree and 2 tablespoons of ancho chili powder and the Hatch chili powder to a simmer over medium-high heat.  Whisk in the mustard, salt, honey and butter until smooth.  Add the wings and mix to cover and coat.

I should note that when I made these wings for my most recent Super Bowl party, I forgot to put out the Blue Cheese Yogurt Sauce.  Still, the wings came out well.  You could definitley taste the smokiness of the sauce thanks to the chipotles and anchos.  The wings were not as hot as I expected they would be.  I used a medium Hatch pepper, but I could have made it hotter by using either a medium-hot to hot pepper.  If you choose to use a hotter pepper, you should be mindful about the amount that you use in the sauce.


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