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Me vs. Chicken Wings: One Woman Has One Night to Tackle Something Entirely New
The recipe comes from Homemade Soda by Andrew Schloss (Storey), a new cookbook on making your own soda and on using soda in sweet and savory dishes. It calls for root beer, along with chili pepper, ginger and soy sauce—which make the wings taste sweet, sour, salty and hot. I could've made my own root beer (the cookbook has an entire chapter on it), but I just bought a can of 365 brand at Whole Foods. I skipped the dried hot chili pepper in favor of a half-teaspoon of dried red pepper flakes because I had a huge container of them at home already. Otherwise, I followed the recipe closely, putting the wings in a pot with the root beer mixture.
As the introduction explains, the sauce should be gooey, pungent and sticky. I was expecting something along the lines of teriyaki, so when the suggested 20 minutes of simmering time was up and the sauce was still far from sticky, I decided to keep going and turned up the heat a bit. Five or six minutes later it was thick and bubbling, and when I'd pass my rubber spatula around to prevent burning, I heard a satisfying gurgle come up from the pan.
I know the typical side for wings is celery and blue cheese, but I served them with broccoli (I had it in the fridge) that I sautéed in garlic and olive oil. Turns out broccoli florets dragged through leftover chicken wings glaze are delicious. My husband, who ate them after a doubleheader with his softball team, said they were even better than the buffalo wings at his team's usual dive bar.