My husband Jason has three favorite foods: fried calamari, wings and cheesesteaks. (Pizza is a close fourth.) There are two foods he won’t eat – beets and blue cheese – and one that he can’t crab (allergic reaction, it’s not pretty) so in this week’s #testkitchen* I did the unthinkable. I combined wings, crisp skinned, moist and tender wings, with beets and blue cheese. It didn’t go over well.
Everyone but Jason, however, thought the results were delicious. So, wow do you add beets and blue cheese to wings – and how do I even think of these things?!
It’s Super Bowl time so I posted about wings on my Facebook page. Mary Bell said blue cheese was a necessity. Talking with John Viglo about beet and blue cheese salad got me thinking – beet juice is sugary, and I love a sticky, glazed wing. How about beet-glazed wings? Add blue cheese dip… A robust conversation on Facebook ensued with Marty Pavelka (whose advice is always worth listening to) suggesting onion and garlic to balance the sugary sweetness of the beets.
The results? A sticky sweet, earthy glaze on crisp-skinned wings with a mild blue cheese and chive dip. Red beets, blue cheese and the white color of the dip will match your Go Pats! decor as will the Bailey Hazen blue cheese that I used, made in Vermont at Jasper Hill Farm.
Enjoy your wings! And consider offering me your couch for a few days. I may be looking for a place to sleep. At least until I get to work on a cheesesteak recipe…
*#testkitchen is a night of new recipe development that I do at home every two weeks. For more info and to share your ideas, check out my Facebook and Instagram accounts.
Beet-glazed Wings with Blue Cheese Dip
- 1/3 cup salt
- 3 pounds wings
For beet glaze:
- 1 tbs olive oil
- 1/2 onion
- 3 gloves garlic
- 1 tsp caraway seeds
- 4 cups beet juice
- Sherry vinegar
For bleu cheese dip:
- 1 1/2 cups crème fraîche
- 1/3 cup buttermilk
- 4.5 oz Bailey Hazen* or another soft blue cheese
- 12 chives
- 2 cloves garlic
- 2 tbs olive oil
- 6 drops Tabasco, or to taste.
- Sherry vinegar
*Baliey Hazen is a mild, nutty blue cheese. For a sharper flavor try Gorgonzola.
- Brine wings: Dissolve salt in 6 cups water. Place chicken wings in a large freezer bag and pour over brine. Place in refrigerator and brine for 3 hours. If you have less time, just brine for less, but this step goes a long way toward moist, flavorful meat. When ready to cook, drain wings and pat dry.
- Make the beet glaze: Warm olive oil in a 2 quart saucepan over medium heat. Add onion and cook until softened, about 3-4 minutes. Add garlic and caraway seeds and cook 1 minute longer. Add beet juice, increase heat to medium-high and reduce to 1 1/2 cups, about 30-45 minutes. Strain through a mesh sieve to remove solids. Return to medium heat and reduce to a thick glaze – thicker than maple syrup and thinner than a tomato-based barbecue sauce. Season to taste with a splash of Sherry vinegar, salt and pepper. Reserve.
- Make dip: Place crème fraîche, buttermilk, cheese, chives, garlic and olive oil in food processor and pulse until still slightly chunky. Season to taste with Tabasco, a splash of Sherry vinegar, salt and pepper. Pulse until smooth. (Or leave chunky if you like a little more texture. It was a source of heavy debate during #testkitchen!)
- Bake wings: Preheat oven to 425F. Line two rimmed sheet pans with foil and spray with cooking spray or brush lightly with oil. Place wings on sheets an inch or two apart. Place wings in oven and bake 30-40 minutes, rotating pans halfway through, until skin in crisp and lightly browned and meat is cooked through.
- Remove wings from oven and turn on broiler, placing the top rack about 8″ from the broiler. Brush 1 pan of wings with glaze and return to oven. Cook about 2 minutes until glaze is bubbling. brush wings with glaze again and return to oven for 2 minutes longer. Repeat with second sheet pan. Brush with any remaining glaze and serve with blue cheese dip.