Out of all the seasons, for some reason fall always seems to go by the fastest for me. I haven't been able to pinpoint why, but I do think it might have something to do with fall foods and how somehow, despite tomatoes and corn, squash and ragus, asparagus and peas, fall flavors always seem to reign supreme! I think I truly have a fear of missing out on these every year, so it does feel like maybe we should squish as many as possible into every recipe we can from now until December, in hopes we can soak it all up until next year.
Enter the fall chicken wing. While the chicken wing, in itself, could certainly be associated with fall, *cough football*, it turns out this sauce vesel is in fact capable of much more than the buffalo go-to we all know and love. And it's definitely true that the best chicken wings are the sauciest and/or stickiest, and the brown sugar in this fall favorite has us covered in that department.
We'll start with the most unappealling thing of all time, grabbing a wad of paper towels and drying off each chicken wing. Yes, I know, you may not want to do this, but underneath the glaze we are about to prepare you will surely want a bit of a crisp, so this step is key!
Mixed with a little olive oil and the obligatory salt and pepper, we'll spread these wings out on a baking sheet lined with some parchement paper or foil. Next it's as easy as lying some whole (!!!) sprigs of thyme and rosemary over the wings. Emphasis on whole because when we don't have to remove the thyme from the sprig, it's truly a happy moment. Arrange the quartered shallot on the pan and it's time to pop this in the oven.
We'll start by adding some apple cider (yay fall!) and brown sugar to a medium sized saucepan. We'll bring this to a boil, add another sprig of thyme, and let is simmer. While it may not seem like it's thickening much, be sure to watch it closely as the cider can all a sudden bubble up.
To make this glaze a little glazzier, we're going to add a simple cornstarch mix to ensure those wings are nice and sticky. In my opinion, if a sauce is going on wings it better be sticking and this will do the trick.
We'll just add a few more things to the glaze, including a bit of dijon mustard, and we'll be good to go to toss the wings in this fall goodness! While apple cider does have a mildly acidic flavor, I really thought to balance out the brown sugar sweetness that these wings could use a little extra zing, which the dijon adds perfectly.
Then it's as easy as adding your cooked wings to a large (and I mean large) bowl, and adding your apple-ey, sweet, sticky sauce over all of them. I recommend using kitchen tongs to toss the wings in the sauce as you really want to make sure each wing gets evenly coated on all sides in the glaze.
Once coated, place the the wings back on the baking sheet and yes, you guessed it, toss them *briefly* in the broiler! Keep your eyes glued to the oven door as with the addition of the ever so lovely brown sugar, these guys have some serious burn potential. But in the perfect amount of time, (perhaps 3-5 minutes), they will develop the perfect sticky char and your house will smell like an autumn candle. What could be better.
Top with extra thyme or any other favorite fall herb, and enjoy these cider wings for an easy fall lunch, a football game favorite, or any other seasonal meal filled with the best fall ingredients.
The fall-est cider brown sugar chicken wings there could be full of flavors of apple cider, thyme, and rosemary in a sticky brown sugar glaze.
1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.
2. Pat chicken wings very dry then place in a large bowl. Add 1 tablespoon olive oil, salt, and pepper and stir to combine. Spread wings out on prepared baking sheet. Top with 6 sprigs thyme, rosemary, and shallots. Drizzle with remaining 2 teaspoons olive oil.
3. Bake for 25 minutes then remove from oven and preheat broiler to high.
4. Meanwhile, make the glaze. In a medium saucepan, combine apple cider and brown sugar. Bring to a boil and add remaining sprig of thyme. Simmer until reduced, approximately 10-15 minutes.
5. Remove thyme sprig. Mix cornstarch with 1 tablespoon water. Reduce heat to low and add cornstarch mix and butter to saucepan. Whisk in dijon mustard, a pinch of salt and black pepper, and a sprinkle of cayenne if desired.
6. Add cooked wings to a large bowl and pour sauce over, tossing to coat. Place back on baking sheet and return to oven. Broil until sauce is bubbling and wings are slightly charred, watching closely the whole time, about 5 minutes. Serve immediately topped with extra thyme.
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