Sunday, August 08, 2010

Aunt Lou's Chicken Wings

I figured it was about time to bring you another family recipe.

This recipe comes from my Great Aunt Lou -- my father's aunt. She was one of the three Jacques girls, the sister of my Grandmaman. Louvalmine was her name. She married my Uncle John, whom I will never meet.

I've heard great stories about Lou and John. They were fancy, wealthy, grand people who stayed at the Georges V in Paris. There are fairy tales in my mind about these people -- stories of drunken binges, lovers, and traveling on big beautiful ships.

The most tangible thing that I retain from Aunt Lou is her very humble chicken wing recipe.

No one will be scared away by the number of ingredients in this dish. Impossible! There are only three. Soy sauce, vodka, and chicken wings.

It is almost unbelievable that three such unassuming ingredients could join together to create something so stickily delectable and pleasing.

I was busy in the kitchen, preparing to flip the wings, when A. waltzed in following the salty sweet aroma.

What is it about roasting chicken that makes it smell so much like baked sweets? The house smelled like I had a cake in the oven -- which never happens!

I let him know that these weren't for his dinner. He was rather disappointed when he learned that I was cooking chicken (he generally won't touch the fowl). He insisted that he would try one -- just one.

And he did! He quipped, that there was no denying that these wings sure are tasty.

And he's right. There is no denying it. After two and a half hours of cooking, the liquid reduces down to a sticky salty glaze, and the wings are irresistible. The sauce is so syrupy that any paper napkin use will result in little white paper adhesions on your fingers.

I used party wings this time, which apparently means that the drumette and mid-joint wing or wingette have been separated. You can use whole chicken wings or just drumettes or party wings, whatever looks good at the market. And there really is no need to get fancy with the vodka -- a Smirnoff-type will do just fine.

This recipe requires next to no work at all. You'll need about two or two and a half hours cooking time though, so plan ahead. A bowl of rice and perhaps a vinegary cucumber salad would be the perfect accompaniments to this simple, yet satisfying dish.

And good news! These are a hit with Fe. All the alcohol cooks out of the vodka, so don't worry!

Aunt Lou's Chicken Wings

2 packages chicken wings -- or enough to fill up a good-sized baking dish
1/2 cup soy sauce
1/2 cup vodka

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees.

Place the chicken wings in a large baking dish that just holds them; pyrex works well. Mix the vodka and soy sauce together. Pour over the chicken. Place in the oven.

Turn the wings every 30 minutes. Bake until the liquid is reduced to a sticky glaze, about 2 to 2 1/2 hours. If there is a little bit of liquid left to spoon over rice, that's nice too.


Monique said...

This dish never disappoints. Now I am totally craving it along with a nice long stay at the Georges V.

Jennifer said...

I made these for a block party this past weekend and they were a big hit! I had just gotten back into town, and it was the perfect no-stress recipe. Yumma! What brand of soy sauce do you use, by the way? I think I might use a low-sodium one next time.

Anonymous said...

This sounded great and I tried it last night. I followed the email exactly and didn't get the same results at all. My wings were very salty inspite of using low salt soy sauce. The wings were overcooked in less than 2 hours. And I didn't get the sticky glaze. I was disappointed.

jacqueline f. said...


I am very sorry to hear that your wings did not turn out. I have never used low-sodium soy sauce and wonder if there is any chance that may have affected your results. My other thought is that perhaps your oven temperature was off. I've made these chicken wings so many times, as have all the members of my family. They should be sticky and a bit chewy. The texture of the meat is a little different then if you quickly fried or roasted them, because they really are braising for most of the time. I always cook them longer than 2 hours if the liquid has not reduced enough, and I never get "overcooked" results. As far as the saltiness issue goes, these wings do have a salty soy sauce flavor, but I've never felt them to be anything but delicious.

Again, I am so so sorry that my recipe disappointed you!

Kind regards, Jacqueline

BRDavis72 said...

We have only had success with these and they are SO YUMMY~thanks Jacqueline!

I wonder what type of pan Anonymous was using...did the wings actually braise? Or were they cooked on a sheet pan/jelly roll pan that did not allow the liquid to cover most of them?

Jenna said...

I made these wings - 4lbs for a potluck party of 10 - and they were a smash hit. When I offered doggie bags of the leftovers, they were scooped up in an instant.
I used an extra 1/2C of liquid mixture and they were a little saucier, but very very delicious. My oven, it seems, does run a little cool.

Thanks for saving that day with this fun, easy recipe!