These wings are totally addictive, baked, not fried and so EASY!
You’re gonna be really proud of me!
Well, come to think of it, some might be proud, some might frown upon me a bit…
If you’re a long time follower of The Café, you might recall that I’m
kind of a sports moron. To be honest, I’ve really never paid much attention to organized sports. Might be because my head’s forever stuck in the kitchen or it might just be that the “athletic” lobe of my brain is missing. I’m not sure which, but nevertheless, it’s an arena of life I tend to not pay much attention to.
That’s why I thought some of you (football fans) might frown on me. But before your opinion drops too low, I have some news that may redeem this old girl a bit. Are you ready?
I’ve actually been thinking about the Super Bowl for weeks. Yes, weeks! Although, in years gone by, I’ve often been out of touch regarding the big game, this year I actually looked up the date. Way back in the beginning of January. Have I gained any brownie points yet? Not many? Well, it gets better, way better!
I checked out the Super Bowl date because I wanted to create something wonderful for you – whether you’re a sports fan or not. Why? Because even if you’re like me, and not particularly super excited about sports, there’s something wonderful about gathering together with family and/or friends for a festive occasion. And festive occasions always call for food, right? Great food!
Which brings me to the delicious point of this conversation; Strawberry Balsamic Glazed Wings. I’ve been working on the recipe for a few weeks in anticipation of the Super Bowl and… Ta Da! They’re ready for you, in perfect time for the big game.
I have to be honest, it took awhile to get these little guys just right, as I rarely make wings. I thought they had to be fried to be really good and the thought of fried wings didn’t appeal to me. But I decided to experiment and see if I could come up with a really fun and delicious recipe for baked wings. There were lots of recipes online and I tried a couple but didn’t have spectacular results, so I came up with my own version.
I decided to go with a fun flavor profile from the past. One of The Café’s first recipes that seemed to go crazy was a Strawberry Balsamic Pizza with Chicken and Applewood Bacon.
It was in the early days when I thought the only people who read the blog were my family and a few friends. Then one day, this recipe went quite viral, and it wasn’t long before I was getting emails from people around the globe who were trying it and loving it. When they wrote, they always said something like, “It sounded like a strange combination of flavors at first… but we loved it!” It’s still one of our favorite pizza’s of all time. It’s fabulous with seasonal strawberries, but also works well all year round if you can find nice imported berries.
Back to the wings… so once again, I combined strawberry jam with a splash of balsamic vinegar. This time I also added soy sauce and fresh ginger. It took a few trials but finally, my taste testers declared the glaze perfect! I had to play around a bit with the baking technique as I wanted a deep, flavorful, mahogany-hued glaze. In the end, I brined the wings for an hour or two, then baked them in a hot oven and applied the glaze several times near the end. I think you’ll find the recipe simple and not too time consuming. Also addictingly delicious. They’re sweet, salty, spicy, sticky and succulent, all rolled in one!
In addition to being a super tasty little finger food, these wings are also great as a dinner entree. I’ve been serving them with jasmine rice and a salad or green veggie for a wonderful meal. Yes, we’ve enjoyed them quite a few times in the process of the recipe development (I went through two of the huge Costco packages of wings!) but still get excited each time they’re on the menu. I think once you try them, you will too! Who knows, you might even feel inclined to overlook my lameness in the sports department! After all, I’ve got you covered in the delicious finger food department, right?
Oh, by the way, you can pretend you don’t know me but… who is it that’s playing in the Super Bowl??
Just teasing, this is the one year I do know. I’m Carolina girl, after all!
- For the brine:
- 1 ½ quart cool water
- 4 tablespoons kosher salt
- 2 tablespoon granulated sugar
- For the chicken:
- 3 pounds uncooked chicken wings
- freshly ground black pepper
- For the glaze:
- 1 ¼ cup strawberry jam*
- ¼ cup balsamic vinegar
- 3 tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce
- 3 medium garlic cloves finely minced
- 1 tablespoon finely minced fresh ginger or ginger paste
- 2 teaspoons Sriacha sauce**
- For garnishing:
- sesame seeds for garnish
- finely chopped fresh cilantro or parsley
- To prepare the brine, combine the water, kosher salt and sugar in a large bowl. Stir for 30 seconds to 1 minute till salt and sugar are completely dissolved. Add chicken wings, cover and refrigerate for 1-2 hours.
- While wings are brining, prepare the sauce. Combine all sauce ingredients in a medium size pan. Bring to a boil and then reduce to a very low, but constant simmer. Simmer for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, then set aside to cool.
- Line one sheet pan with several thicknesses of paper towels and another with parchment paper. Preheat oven to 425.
- Drain chicken well, then spread out on the paper towel lined sheet pan. Pat dry with more paper towels. Allow to sit on paper towels for another 10 minutes, then discard paper towels and transfer wings to parchment paper lined pan. (You want the wings as dry as possible.)
- Spread wing pieces out on parchment lined sheet pan so that pieces are not touching. Sprinkle liberally with freshly ground black pepper. Bake for 15 minutes then flip with a tongs to opposite side and bake another 15 minutes.
- While wings are baking, prepare sauce. Combine all sauce ingredients in a medium size sauce pan. Bring to a boil and then reduce to a low, constant simmer. Simmer for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, then set aside to cool.
- Remove wings from the oven and increase oven temperature to 475˚F.
- Transfer 5 tablespoons of the sauce to a large bowl. Transfer wings to bowl and toss to coat. Discard parchment paper and any accumulated grease.
- Line a sheet pan with foil (for easy clean up) and set awire cooling rack in the pan (or on top of pan). Spray wire rack liberally with cooking spray to prevent sticking.
- Bake for 5 minutes, then remove from oven and brush ribs liberally with sauce. Return to oven for another 5 minutes then repeat brushing with sauce. If wings are not deeply mahogany-hued, repeat brushing with glaze and 5 minutes in the oven one more time.
- Sprinkle with sesame seeds. Allow to cool for about 5 minutes, then sprinkle with finely chopped cilantro or parsley. Serve and enjoy!
* Look for the reddest, prettiest jam you can find. Do not use a jam that's main ingredient is strawberry juice. You want the real deal. I used homemade strawberry freezer jam as well as Bonne Maman.
** Sriracha is a delicious Asian hot sauce that is readily available in most larger grocery stores.