The Rouses Test Kitchen

Chicken Wings

My Rouses Everyday, September/October 2017

Our chefs test recipes and new products every day.

Sometimes the recipes are for our delis and cafes, sometimes for stories in this magazine or to go up on our newly redesigned website. Spearheading the testing is Rouses Corporate Chef Marc Ardoin. Here are some easy yet tasty recipes Chef Marc recommends this season.

Football means food, and wings are a classic. I like bone-in wings rather than boneless, which are usually just chicken breast meat or tenders. Traditional wings are plain fried, with no breading or batter, and that’s what we serve at Rouses on our hot bar during tailgate season.

When you’re frying at home you can use vegetable oil or canola oil, because they both have a higher smoke point (usually around 450° F) and a neutral flavor. Vegetable oil contains trans fats, so use canola oil if you are trying to avoid excess fat. The trick to getting a crispy, crunchy crust rather than a chewy one is keeping that oil at the right temperature and frying in small batches. Use a thermometer, and remember to let your oil come back up to temperature between each batch. If you try to fry too much at one time, you won’t get that delicious crunch.

The real crust challenge comes with baking. Wings have a higher ratio of skin to meat than other pieces of chicken. To get a crispy crust when baking, you need to dehydrate the skin, which will help the batter cling to the chicken and render out some of the fat. Let the wings rest in the refrigerator for at least half an hour — even overnight — before baking.

We toss our wings in an ever-changing variety of sauces. This football season we’re serving Buffalo, BBQ, Thai Chili, Teriyaki and General Tso’s, which is a sweet and spicy Chinese-American sauce. Our chefs and cooks prepare the sauces every evening, Monday through Friday, and lunch and dinner Saturday and Sunday. We also have a variety of pre-packed wings available in our deli case every day.