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How to Turn Up the Heat for the Big Game

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0131homespunweb.jpgRISMEDIA, Jan. 31, 2008-(MCT)-You may not have tickets to the Superbowl, but you can relax in front of the TV and enjoy Buffalo chicken wings. The contrasting flavors and temperature-spicy chicken and tangy blue cheese; hot chicken and cold celery-conspire to make this dish a winner.

In 1964, at the Anchor Bar in Buffalo, N.Y., owner Teresa Bellissimo received a large order of chicken wings by mistake. She deep-fried them, added hot sauce and a food phenomenon was born. Later she added celery sticks and blue cheese as a foil for the fiery wings. Frying makes for crisp skin and moist meat but requires working in small batches. Roasting or broiling wings is less work and cuts calories, but results in less crispness.

- Cut the wing in three: cut through the joint connecting the wing sections. Cut off wing tips and reserve for soup.
- Four to six wings make an adequate serving. Drumettes will take longer to cook than the double-bone joint. Raw wings may be frozen up to nine months. Cooked wings may be frozen up to one month.
- To be authentic, you’ll need to accompany your hot wings with fresh, crisp celery and blue cheese dressing.

BUFFALO CHICKEN WINGS
3 pounds chicken wings (about 16), separated into wings and drumettes
6 cups vegetable oil if deep-frying
1-½ teaspoons cayenne
Salt to taste

FOR SAUCE:
¼ cup canola oil or ¼ cup melted unsalted butter
3 to 4 tablespoons hot sauce such as Frank’s or Goya
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

FOR BLUE-CHEESE DRESSING:
½ cup mayonnaise
¼ cup sour cream or plain yogurt
2 ounces (about -½ cup) crumbled blue cheese
4 celery ribs

While this recipe is for frying wings, instructions for broiling and baking them are included as well.

For the wings: In a large (5- to 6-quart) deep heavy pot, wok or deep fat fryer, heat oil until a thermometer registers 375 degrees. Rinse wings, pat dry and season with salt and cayenne. Carefully lower 6 or 7 wings into oil and stir occasionally until golden and crisp, 10 to 15 minutes, depending on size. With a slotted spoon, transfer wings to paper towels. Fry remaining wings, returning oil to 375 degrees between batches.

For the sauce: In a large skillet, heat oil over moderately low heat; stir in hot sauce and salt and pepper. Set aside. Add cooked wings to sauce and toss. Serve chicken wings hot, warm or at room temperature with dressing and celery sticks and hot sauce on the side.

For the dressing: In a bowl, whisk mayonnaise and sour cream and stir in blue cheese (dressing will not be smooth). Dressing may be made 8 hours ahead and chilled, covered. Cut celery into thin sticks. Soak in a bowl of ice and cold water at least 30 minutes and up to 1 hour. Makes 4 servings.

To broil wings: Rinse chicken wings; pat dry and season with salt and cayenne pepper. Line two rimmed baking sheets with foil and oil it. Place wings on baking sheet in a single layer and broil 6 inches from heat source until golden brown, and cooked through, rotating sheet occasionally, 10 to 15 minutes.

To bake wings: Heat the oven to 425 degrees. Use same seasonings and preparation as above. Bake until golden brown, and cooked through, about 35 to 40 minutes.

Per serving (not including oil used for frying): 668 calories (82% from fat), 61.3 g fat (13 g saturated, 20.9 g monounsaturated), 122.5 mg cholesterol, 25.6 g protein, 4.1g carbohydrates, 1.2 g fiber, 775.5 mg sodium.

© 2008, The Miami Herald.
Distributed by McClatchy-Tribune Information Services.

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