Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Chicken Wings with Momofuku Tare Sauce

It's chicken wing week here at BBB Food.  I may look really organized, posting Super Bowl recipes in advance.    Or I may just be catering to my family's chicken wing cravings.

Or maybe I'm succumbing to my current obsession with the Momofuku Cookbook and had some Momofuku tare to slather on some wings.  You will never know, will you?  It's a mind-bender situation like that movie Inception, which I just saw on pay-per-view.

Speaking of, do you think Leonardo DiCaprio's character was in or out of the dream at the end of the movie? Hmmm...

Tare is the Japanese basting sauce which is used for yakitori (grilled chicken skewers) and as a seasoning for Tokyo-style ramen.  It's made of roasted chicken bones, mirin, sake, and soy sauce, which is then simmered down and concentrated into a potent sauce.  You don't need much. A little goes a long way.

If you find the sauce too salty for your palate, you can add honey or sugar to amp up the sweet tones.

Chicken Wings with Momofuku Tare Sauce

Chicken wingettes, as many as you want (we made 2 packs of chicken wingettes)
Brine (8 cups water, 2/3 cup kosher salt, 2/3 cup sugar)
Tare sauce below (soy sauce, mirin, sake, sugar, chicken bones)

If you don't buy the wingettes but full chicken wings, cut off the wingtip and separate the drumstick and the wing , or the "two-bone" as my daughter calls it.  If you're not really sure how to cut up wings, watch this handy dandy video.

Make the brine in a large bowl or pot, letting the sugar and salt dissolve.  Add the wings and let brine in the fridge for 1-3 hours.

When you're ready to cook the wings, preheat oven to 425 degrees.

Take out bowl/pot of chicken from the fridge and rinse chicken well (I mean really well -- I dump them out into a clean sink and rinse them with the faucet sprayer.  Dry on paper towels and then place on a baking sheet or baking sheets if you have a lot of wings.  I use Silpats, so the chicken doesn't stick to the baking sheet, but one could also use non-stick aluminum foil or teflon baking sheets. Sprinkle with fresh ground pepper and put on the middle rack of the oven.

The wings will take 45 minutes to an hour and 15 minutes, depending on their size and how crispy you like them.

Cook for 30 minutes and then flip over.  The wings will start to brown in the second half of their cooking time.  You can flip them occasionally, so they brown on both sides.  If your oven doesn't heat evenly and you notice some wings are browning faster than others, you can rotate the baking sheet(s) as well.

When they are crispy to your liking, take them out and brush lightly with tare sauce.  Turn on the broiler and place the wings under the broiler (top or second rack) until  charred (not burned) -- make sure not to leave the oven and watch until the wings are browned to your liking. Alternately, you can brush the wings with sauce and "grill" them in a hot skillet.

Browning on one side is good enough.  Serve and enjoy!

Momofuku Tare
from the Momofuku Cookbook

(Note: if you don't have chicken, make it without; you only have to bring it to a boil for a few minutes to cook off the alcohol, and it should be fine.  I often use cooked leftover bones from chicken.  I brown them on the stovetop and then continue with the recipe.)

2-3 chicken backs, or the bones and their immediately attendant flesh and skin reserved from butchering one chicken
1 cup sake
1 cup mirin
2 cups usukuchi

Heat the oven to 450 degrees.

Cut the chicken back into 3 pieces or any other chicken you're using into smaller pieces as more surface area creates more browning which causes more flavor.

Spread the bones out into a wide 12-14 inch heatproof saute pan or skillet and put in the oven for 45 minutes to 1 hour.  Check on the bones after 40 minutes to make sure they are browning and not burning.  You want deeply browned bones and the fond -- the fatty liquid caramelizing on the bottom of the pan -- to be very dark but not blackened (flecks of black here and there, or at the edges of the pool are fine, but charred fond is bitter and would have to be discarded).  Watch as the bones color, and pull them out when they're perfectly browned.

When the bones are browned, remove the pan from the oven (with a mitt!) and put it on the stovetop.  Pour a splash of sake onto the pan and put the pan over a burner and turn the heat to medium-high.  Once the sake starts to bubble, scrape up the fond from the bottom of the pan.

Once the fond is free from the bottom of the pan, add the remaining sake, mirin, and soy sauce to the pan.  Turn the heat to high.  When the liquid comes to a boil, lower the heat so that it barely simmers.  Cook for 1 hour.  It will reduce somewhat, the flavors will meld, and the tare will thicken ever so slightly.

Strain the bones out and season the liquid with 5-6 turns of black pepper.  The tare can be used right away or cooled and stored, covered, in the refrigerator for 3-4 days.


Table Talk said...

We are going to a Superbowl party at a neighbors' house and I think I know now what I am putting my husband in charge of. He is the chicken wing guy at our house, and I know they would be a big hit. Glad you are sharing your new cookbook treats with us!

Melissa @IWasBornToCook said...

I'm a fan of wings done pretty much any way...I'll keep these in mind. Finger lickin' good! :)

Charley29 said...

i love chicken!!

Bob said...

I just made the Momofuku tare sauce, and used chicken wings for my bones. So I browned the wings in the oven, the used them for the chicken flavor in the sauce. Those wings were over-the- top delicious.

Hung said...