Scranton Dundie Chicken Wings
Recipe and photo by Tami Ganeles Weiser
Prep Time: 30 minutes Marinating Time: 12 minutes Cook Time: 35 minutes
Chicken wings were common fare on TV’s The Office, which was set in Scranton, Pennsylvania. The fictional office’s annual awards, the Dundies, were always goofy, painfully humiliating and sometimes, when Mindy Kaling penned the episode, smart and sentimental. The first episode featuring the Dundies—which showcased the hidden feelings that began a love affair between two characters, Jim Halpert and Pam Beesly—was a case in point.
3 pounds chicken wings, drummettes only
1 cup dark rum
Juice and zest of 6 large or 8 small limes or 4 oranges
¼ cup Cointreau or other orange-flavored liqueur
2 tablespoons dark brown sugar
½ cup olive oil, divided
- French the chicken drummettes: Place a drummette on a work surface, positioning it on its side. Grasp the top (nearly meatless) end of the drummette firmly, and carefully insert the tip of a very sharp paring or boning knife just below the knobby part of the bone. Turn the chicken drummette, so that the knife cuts through the skin, all the way around (the knife doesn’t move; the chicken does). Once the skin is cut, scrape the small amount of meat from the bone toward the end of the drummette, cutting through the meat and any white sinew as necessary. Then, with your hand, gently push the bulk of the meat down to the other end of the drummette and use the knife to scrape any bits of meat from the bone. It should look like a meat lollipop. Repeat with the remaining drummettes.
- Marinate the chicken: Combine the rum, zest, juice, liqueur, and sugar in a small nonreactive saucepan and heat over high heat, being very careful that the alcohol does not ignite and cause flames to flare up. Cook for 3 minutes, until the sugar is fully dissolved. Remove from the heat and cool to room temperature. Pour the marinade into a resealable bag and add the chicken drumettes. Seal securely, place in a large bowl (to avoid any spills) and refrigerate for 10 to 12 minutes. (If you marinate it longer, it will change the texture of the meat, so don’t—trust me, it works quickly.)
- Preheat the oven to 450°F and position the oven racks in the in upper and lower thirds of the oven. Line 2 rimmed baking sheets with aluminum foil. Spray liberally with olive oil spray. Divide the oil between 2 small containers, ¼ cup in each.
- Remove the chicken drumettes from the marinade, pat them dry, and divide the between the prepared baking sheets.
- Brush the oil over all the wings, sprinkle with the salt on both sides and par-bake for about 15 minutes, until the meat is no longer pink. (Don’t worry; it is only partially cooked; you are not done yet.)
- Working with one sheet at a time, turn the wings over, using clean tongs (that is, tongs that were not used for raw chicken—cross contamination from raw to par-cooked or cooked chicken is a huge kitchen no-no. See Kitchen Tips). Bake for another 15 to 20 minutes, until the chicken is well browned and sizzling. Serve immediately with salsa or guacamole.
- If you purchase whole wings, you can make your own drummettes: Using a sharp boning knife, cut the wings at the hinge of the joint, separating the wings and the drumettes. Reserve wing sections for another use, such as stock. Sometimes wings that have been separated in the grocery store or in big box stores are not done by a butcher with a sharp knife, but a buzz saw, and you may find a few errant shards of bone or cartilage in your chicken. If you have the time and inclination, cutting them yourself is the way to go, and you’ll have the makings of a chicken-bone broth ready in your freezer.
- Cross-contamination with foodborne bacteria in kitchens is a problem that can result in some very serious, very icky consequences. But it is preventable. Hot water, soap, and disinfectants are your kitchen friends. And so is using clean plates, cutting boards, and utensils once raw chicken or meat have touched what you are using. I hate to sound like a nervous nelly and crazed helicopter mom, but there are some basic notions, especially about chicken, that are important to know. It’s pretty simple: Poisoning your guests or yourself is never on the menu. Trust me on this one. http://www.fsis.usda.gov/wps/portal/fsis/topics/food-safety-education/get-answers/food-safety-fact-sheets/safe-food-handling/basics-for-handling-food-safely