There will be a lot of opportunity in the coming weeks to settle in and watch others run around a football field or vie for an Olympic metal. And if you want to have some people over to hang out and make it a party, lap-friendly food that doesn’t require a lot of last-minute cooking is ideal so you can relax and enjoy watching their efforts, too.
Chicken wings are always a crowd-pleaser, and this recipe by Bruce Aidells, author of The Great Meat Cookbook (which appeared in Real Food), is inspired by Vietnamese sticky chicken. Five-spice powder, a Chinese flavoring, is also popular in Vietnamese cooking. One of the spices that gives five-spice powder its characteristic licorice flavor is star anise, which is also used whole in this braise. The wings can be made a day ahead and gently re-heated in the sauce on top of the stove and are good served warm or at room temperature.
Sticky Chicken Wings
1 tbsp. Chinese five-spice powder
2 tbsp. mild chili powder such as a New Mexico or Californian or Hungarian paprika
2 tsp. kosher salt
1 tbsp. freshly ground black pepper
1 tbsp. dark brown sugar
24 chicken wings, tips removed and cut into 2 pieces
4 tbsp. peanut oil, divided
2 c. chopped onion
1 tbsp. minced garlic
4 tsp. minced ginger
3 c. low-sodium chicken broth
2 tbsp. fish sauce
¼ c. rice vinegar
1 tbsp. soy sauce
3 tbsp. dark brown sugar
2 whole star anise
Thinly sliced green onions, for garnish
Cilantro sprigs, for garnish
Combine all spice-rub ingredients in a small bowl and sprinkle generously over all surfaces of the wings. For the most flavor, place on a platter, coat, wrap in plastic wrap, and refrigerate overnight. Otherwise, proceed with the recipe.
Place a 6-to 8-quart Dutch oven over medium-high heat and when hot, add oil. Brown the wings on all sides in 2 or 3 batches. Set aside.
Add onions to the pot and cook until soft, about 5 minutes. Stir in garlic and ginger and fry and stir 1 minute more. Pour in chicken broth, fish sauce, vinegar, soy sauce, and brown sugar. Drop in star anise. Bring to a boil and lay in the wings. Reduce to a simmer, cover, and cook for 30 minutes. Remove wings and set aside.
Skim fat from the liquid. Turn up heat to high and reduce the glazing liquid until it becomes syrupy. Add the wings and toss with the glaze until the wings are totally covered. Transfer wings to a warm pan or platter.
To serve, mound the wings on a large platter. Sprinkle with green onions and a few sprigs of cilantro.
Nutrition info (per serving) Sticky Chicken Wings: CALORIES 284 (159 from fat); FAT 18g (sat. 4g); CHOL 50mg; SODIUM 773mg; CARB 13g; FIBER 2g; PROTEIN 19g