Sweet and Spicy Wings

My husband’s favorite food (and possibly mine) is HOT WINGS!  We love to order the spiciest wings a restaurant will make.  Thus far, Charleston’s hottest is the Braveheart wing at Wild Wing Cafe.  Makes you cry, but with happiness.

I made these wings for the big National Championship game.  College football season is officially over – so sad.  These wings are not very hot, but very flavorful – perfect for those of you who don’t like to be in pain.  I based the recipe off of the “Spicy Honey Drumettes” from John Folse’s cookbook, but I altered it.  The original recipe called for a whole cup of honey and just a little red pepper flakes.  I decreased the honey and subbed red chili paste with garlic (my fave Asian condiment – like a concentrated Sriracha with red pepper flakes in it).

Even though these weren’t our traditional super spicy buffalo wings, they were delicious!  Also, they are stupid easy.  And I’ll pretend like they are healthy because they weren’t deep fried like most wings.  Yeah, I’ll go with that.

**Next time, I would definitely get the wings crispier by cooking them longer at a high temperature before adding the sauce on them.  I just like my wings crispy.

Serve with french fries to sop up your extra wing sauce.  Serve with ranch, if desired.

Sweet and Spicy Wings

  • 24 wings (I used drummettes)
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 2 Tablespoons Worcesterchire sauce
  • 2 Tablespoons soy sauce
  • 2 Tablespoons red chili paste with garlic (Sambal Oelek) – or more if you want it spicier

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Rinse wings and pat with paper towels to dry thoroughly.  Bake on baking sheet for 10 minutes.

Add the remaining ingredients in a bowl and whisk to combine.  Add half of the honey sauce to your wings and bake for another 10 minutes.  Turn wings over with a tong.  Add remaining sauce and cook for additional 10 minutes.

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Also, wings should always be served with beer.  It’s totally American.

 

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Catfish Courtbouillon

My cousin Ali and I made the most scrumptious cajun dish – catfish courtbouillon.  We subbed  snapper for the catfish since Ali had some on hand she had caught.  I don’t say upgrade because I lurrrve me some catfish.  But it was super delicious with snapper, too.

My go-to chef for cajun dishes is John Folse (followed by Donald Link).  His website has so many recipes.  We used his Catfish Courtbouillon recipe with some adjustments.  It is written rather confusingly.  But, it still turned out great!

A cajun courtbouillon is a fish stew that starts off with a roux, to which you add veggies and fish.  Yes, I know “fish stew” does not sound like the kind of dish you are just dying to run out and make ASAP.  But, trust me, this is an awesome, basic, hug your belly kinda recipe.  Served over rice, it is comfort in a bowl.

It is quite pretty, too, especially for the holidays – look at that red and green.

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Ingredients

  • 1 (3-5 pound) catfish – filleted and cut into small pieces of fish, reserving bones and excess parts for stock
  • 1 cup oil
  • 1 cup flour
  • 2 cups chopped onions
  • 2 cups chopped celery
  • 1/2 cup chopped red bell pepper
  • 1/2 cup chopped yellow bell pepper
  • 1/2 cup chopped green bell pepper
  • 2 tbsps chopped garlic
  • 1 cup diced tomatoes
  • 1 can Rotel tomatoes
  • 1/2 cup tomato sauce
  • juice of one lemon
  • 3 bay leaves
  • pinch of thyme
  • 1 cup chopped green onions
  • salt and red pepper to taste
  • Excess ingredients for stock: one cubed onion, one stalk of celery, 2 bay leaves, 1 T peppercorns


Fillet the catfish and cut into two inch square cubes. Place the bones and head in a pot with one gallon of water, one cubed onion, one stalk of celery, 2 bay leaves and a tablespoon of peppercorns. Bring to a rolling boil and cook 30 minutes, skimming the impurities that rise to the surface. Strain and reserve 3 quarts for the courtbouillon.

In a large dutch oven, heat oil over medium-high heat. Add flour and using a wire whip stir constantly until dark brown roux is achieved – at medium heat.

If you have never made a roux before, it is really quite simple.  Just constantly stir to ensure it does not burn.  If you are making your first roux, just lower the heat.  This will make your roux take longer but will make you less stressed about it burning.  When it becomes that perfect dark brown (darker than peanut butter), it is done.  Have your veggies handy to add once it is perfectly cooked so you don’t get distracted and burn it at this point.  Also, seriously use a whisk.  It helps more evenly stir and prevents splatter – you can get a serious roux burn.  Ask a south Louisiana woman to see her roux burns.  My mom has aplenty.

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Add onions, celery, bell peppers, garlic and sauté until vegetables are wilted, approximately 3-5 minutes.

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Add tomatoes and tomato sauce and continue to sauté. Add fish stock, one ladle at a time, until all is incorporated.  I found 3 quarts was a bit excessive.  You may want to put a little less.  Too much stock was remedied by just boiling it for longer so the stew thickened while water evaporated, but if you don’t have time to let it boil awhile, just add less stock.

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Add lemon juice, bay leaves, and thyme. Bring to a rolling boil, then reduce to simmer. Season to taste – we added some salt, red pepper, and Tabasco.  Allow to cook approximately 30 minutes. Add green onions and season to taste again. Drop cubed catfish fillets into the sauce, allow to cook 3 minutes then remove from heat. Adjust seasonings if necessary.

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Serve over white rice.

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Chicken and Andouille Rice

I made a yummy Cajun dish last night.  Much to my delight, the local Publix grocery had legit andouille sausage!  Andouille is a spicy pork sausage and really makes this dish.  I wasn’t sure what to call this recipe.  It is not a jambalaya because it is not made in the traditional cast iron pot, which I unfortunately do not have.  But it tastes very similar to a jambalaya.  John Folse calls this recipe “Undefeated Red Beans, Rice and Sausage Casserole.”  That mouthful (PUNNY!) just does not sound very appealing.  Also, I don’t want to jinx the “undefeated” reference as both my teams, LSU and Saints, are currently undefeated!  Yes, I believe in jinxing, much to my husband’s annoyance.  I’m often fussing him over things he says with the reprimand, “You just JINXED us!”

Ok. Here is the recipe originally from, and adapted slightly from http://www.jfolse.com/recipes/vegetables/entree13.htm

Chicken and Andouille Rice

  • 2 pounds cubed chicken meat
  • 1 pound sliced smoked sausage or andouille
  • 1 12-ounce can cooked red kidney beans
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 cups diced onions
  • 1 cup diced celery
  • 1/2 cup diced green bell pepper
  • 1/2 cup diced red bell pepper
  • 1/4 cup chopped garlic
  • 5 cups chicken stock
  • 1 8-ounce can tomato sauce
  • 3 cups rice, raw
  • 1 cup sliced green onions
  • 1/2 cup chopped parsley
  • salt and pepper and cajun seasoning and hot sauce, to taste

In a large dutch oven, heat oil over medium high heat. Add smoked sausage until browned.  Add cubed chicken and saute until the fat has been rendered. Don’t dry it out – it will cook more after this stage.  Add onions, celery, bell pepper, and garlic. Sauté 3 to 5 minutes or until vegetables are wilted.

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Add chicken stock and tomato sauce. Bring mixture to a rolling boil, reduce to simmer, and cook 10 to 15 minutes for seasonings to develop.  Add cooked red beans, green onions, parsley and rice. (Mine did not include the parsley because my darling hubby bought cilantro, thinking it was parsley. Too cute)

Stir well to blend thoroughly. Season stock to taste using salt, pepper, cajun seasoning (I used a little Tony Chachere’s) and Louisiana hot sauce (I used Tabasco).

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Bring mixture to a rolling boil, reduce heat to low, cover and cook approximately 45 minutes stirring only once after 30 minutes of cooking time.  Keep the lid on during this time.  Make sure to check after 30 minutes! Mine was done at this point.  45 minutes would have overcooked my rice.  I also am attempting to adjust to my new gas stove, so I may have had the heat too high.  When I took off the lid at 30 mins, I saw this lovely sight:

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This was really good and feeds a crowd.  The original recipe said this makes 8 servings, but it’s a lot more than that, I think.  After feeding four people, I have a gallon zip lock bag filled to the brim with leftovers.  I really hope Geoff was honest in saying how much he liked this because he will be eating it every day for lunch until it’s gone.

It was really nice to make something that tasted like home.  Cajun food is just so comforting, like a big hug.