Hubby and I have a standing date that takes place every three to four months. We grab Dudette, pack a few bags and head to Wilmington; the one with beaches like Carolina, Kure and Wrightsville. Our date doesn’t include visiting any of those beaches, swimming in the surf or even catching a glimpse of the ocean. Instead, we drop Dudette off at her grandparents house and head for Buffalo’s for a few mugs Yuengling on draft, a basket of onion rings and several varieties of their incredible wings.
That’s just about the only time we have wings because, well, I do try to avoid deep frying foods at home. My arteries, posterior and general health all thank me (usually). I know that wings can be baked in the oven and grilled outside, but I admit it; I’m a fan of a good, deep-fried wing that’s then been tossed in a fantastic glaze. Plus, there’s the whole Yuengling on tap thing going on.
So, if Martha had offered up a recipe for buffalo chicken wings, I might have tried it, but with no expectations of it being as good as our date wings. Instead, she takes the buffalo idea to the rest of the bird and serves up buffalo taste in the more meaty thigh. Worth a try, thinks I.
If you have the magazine, you already know that what I’m making is only half of the original recipe. The whole thing is Buffalo Chicken Thighs with Celery and Blue Cheese Salad. Since I’m the only one in the house that likes blue cheese dressing, I decided to forego that salad for the Chopped Green Bean and Celery Salad. If you’re wanting the blue cheese dressing, you’ll need to get the magazine.
Making the chicken is easy. Salt, pepper and a sprinkle of cayenne is all that goes on it before it’s put in a hot oven for a half hour or so. Because we’re dealing with the more fatty thigh and the heat is so high, the skin gets very crispy, which is really important when making any buffalo-style dish.
While the chicken bakes, it’s time to make the glaze, which involves heating butter, cayenne, vinegar, salt and pepper in a small saucepan.
Once the chicken’s done, it gets tossed in a bowl with the butter mixture and that’s it.
Way hot. Way too hot for me. I wouldn’t even let Dudette try it. She had a piece that just had been baked with salt and pepper. Hubby, on the other hand, he loved this. He loved the butter sauce too. He ended up pouring on his potatoes. Remember though, he has a sinus infection and so his taste buds are working at half strength. For all we know, he could have fried the inside of his mouth and we won’t find out until he gets on the right meds.
This is very hot, but it is also very tasty. I admit that I didn’t coat my chicken thigh with the butter sauce. I did sprinkle it with the cayenne, but then I just dipped a piece in the sauce to see what I thought. The flavor is good, but I just haven’t developed that level of heat tolerance.
What I’d Do Different Next Time
Instead of using cayenne pepper, I’d add a good hot sauce with the butter instead. The cayenne never integrated at all and so the coating left places that were incredibly hot, and others that were just very hot. I think a liquid hot sauce would provide a more even coating. Serving this with some kind of “mouth cooler,” like Celery and Blue Cheese Salad that should be with this or the green bean salad I used is a must.
- 4 bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs (about 1½ pounds total)
- Coarse salt and ground pepper
- 1¼ teaspoons cayenne pepper
- 2 tablespoons mayonnaise
- 5 tablespoons white-wine vinegar
- 3 ounces blue cheese, crumbled (3/4 cup)
- 3 large celery stalks, cut into ¼-inch pieces
- 1 head romaine lettuce, cut into ½-inch pieces
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- Preheat oven to 475 degrees. Place chicken, skin side up, on a rimmed baking sheet and season with salt, pepper, and ½ teaspoon cayenne. Cook until skin is golden and crisp and chicken is cooked through, 20 minutes, rotating sheet halfway through. Meanwhile, in a large bowl, whisk together mayonnaise, 2 tablespoons vinegar, and half the blue cheese. Add celery and romaine, season with salt and pepper, and toss to combine. Sprinkle salad with remaining blue cheese.
- In a small pot, melt butter with ¾ teaspoon cayenne over medium-low. Whisk in 3 tablespoons vinegar and remove from heat; season with salt and pepper. In a medium bowl, toss chicken with butter mixture to coat. Divide chicken among four plates, drizzle with any extra butter mixture, and serve with salad.