Fifteen Spice Double Cooked Chicken Wings, with Mango Asian Pear Salad, imagine a wing first infused with spices and flavors in a pressure cooker, then taken to a barbecue and grilled and basted with all those wonderfully elevated juices from the bottom of the pressure cooker. One word simply amazing with a dichotomy of tenderness and crispness! Don't know what to make for Canada day weekend? I think you do now!
Song of the Day: "Imagine" by John Lennon.
Fifteen Spice, Double Cooked Chicken Wings with Mango Asian Pear Salad, is a perfect outdoor, backyard Canada Day party appetizer! Canada is 150 years old and these wings with their intense flavors, crispy texture and incredible tenderness will be the perfect hit of our country's party! Happy Birthday Canada!
Fifteen Spice, wow you may say, that sounds complex, not really. I was thinking about what I wanted to make for Canada Day, and I had bought some wings from Sunworks Farms, at The Old Strathcona Farmers Market. I kept coming back to some kind of wing for an appetizer. I thought that using a product from a producer that was totally Canadian was very important, and when I think of Sunworks Farms, I know the product speaks for itself and the people behind the farm represent what I believe and trust. Creating an organic product using great principles in quality, and with the best humane process that is possible. Ron, Shiela, and Issac are those people. Dedicated to give us Canadian consumers a product that we can trust to be certified organic and know the chickens that gave their life had a great one. I know because Nicoletta and I visited the farm and were taken on a tour, but that's another story.
Something else was in the back of my mind. Thinking of Canada as a whole, what would be something that symbolizes Canada or exemplifies life here. The first thing that came to my mind was culture, mainly multiculturalism. This is what I love about Canada, many cultures coming together living in peace and harmony sharing values, life, spirituality, and most of all food! What better way to get to know one another, than through cooking together and sharing a table. Hence this is where fifteen spice came from. Spices from different cultures meeting in a pressure cooker to flavor some wings that will be shared and eaten. I know I have not included all the cultures in the spice as I would have to have a huge pot, but the point remains the same, unity!
I have to thank My Kitchen Rules for the inspiration of using a pressure cooker. Watching one of the first series shown here in Canada, opened my eyes to the various uses of a pressure cooker, and using it to intensify and break down some of that protein in theses wings, with the use of the spices will ensure me a wing that will have so much taste, that we will ride the flavors, as we travel on the multicultural flavor train together!
What I did first was marinade the wings over night. I wanted to really kick up the flavor of these wonderful wings prior to placing them in the pressure cooker. This is where the fifteen spice comes. Just to list a few we have fresh garlic, paprika, onion powder, white and black pepper, dried oregano, grated lemongrass, some fresh herbs, and the list goes on. If I have your curiosity, check out the recipe. The wings were tossed well, covered, and left overnight in the fridge to fuse and mingle.
When I took the marinated wings out of the fridge and took off the plastic wrap, I was in love. The aroma of all those spices and juices had my mouth watering and my heart pounding, as I was excited to finish this dish and sink my teeth into these babies.
In the pressure cooker I added even more flavor using chunks of ginger, and bay leaves, this is going to be crazy good. I needed some moisture so I added in a good vegetable stock. With the lid on and locked, and the heat roaring to the timer counting down from 20 minutes.
While the pressure cooker was whistling away steaming the fifteen spice wings, I wanted to get started on what I was going to serve these magnificent morsels with. I wanted something fresh, somewhat sweet but with a nice kick and acidity. I came up with a Mango, Asian Pear Salad. The mango nice and ripe bought at our local organic market. The Asian pear will add some serious juiciness and crunch texture to the mix, and we love the T&T Market, and will always come up with an excuse to visit our local Asian store. I need some freshness so into our backyard herb garden and I get some basil and parsley. I love bean sprouts so in they go, but I am missing something. I need a spark of color, something happy and sunny. I got it, pomegranate, and sun-dried tomatoes packed in olive oil, you can't get any food happier than that. To seal the deal a bit of green onion, and the salad is set.
The timer goes off and I wait for the steam to dissipate and I take the lid off the pressure cooker. OMG, the aroma is heavenly. That fifteen spice tantalizing my nose and appetite to a point of salivation, but I am not finished yet. I take the wings out and I place them in a barbecue basket. I have to tell you I love this basket. It is perfect especially with a locking lid that can be adjusted to any thickness, you gotta get one. The wings are in place and the grill is hot, on go the wings to get a bit of char and crispiness. The sauce from the pressure cooker I placed in a small pot and am reducing it a bit on the side burner. The smell coming off the grill is enticing and I am thinking I may have some neighbors peeking over the fence to see what is going on.
After I have a nice char I turn the heat down on one side of the barbecue, and I start showing these Fifteen Spice Double Cooked Chicken Wings, some love by basting them with that reduced marinade. I am seriously dying here. I want to just grab a wing and bite in. I am hoping a morsel falls away and I have an excuse to catch and eat it, and to my joy, a piece of the wing comes free and just happens to land on a fork, that just happened to be on the barbecue tray. Imagine that, it is like in that moment all the planets aligned, and serendipity was knocking at my door. I could not let that opportunity slip me by and that morsel took the direct flight right into my mouth. Oh, this is good, so so good! A final bast and continually turning as not to burn the royalties, we are ready to plate and finally, finally sit and enjoy them.
I mixed up a quick dressing for the salad, using sesame oil, peanut oil, mustard, apricot/raspberry jam and an array of flavors and bite using Chinkiang vinegar for that acidity, for I need to offset the sweetness. A quick whisk and into the salad for a toss and we are ready to plate, and most of all, let's eat!
Doesn't this look amazing? The wonderful color of the mango, those hits of color from the sundried tomato. That vibrant innocence of the bean sprouts and those pomegranate arils just screaming juiciness and flavor. To frame the whole dish we used some fresh lettuce greens, straight from my parents garden. You can't get more organic than that. The wings look fabulous too and are really the star of the show. That fifteen spice mix singing on each wing with its colors and aroma.
My first bite takes me to the wonderful flavor of the wing. That grass fed free-range chicken delivering a solid foundation for the spices to come forward. The curry and combination garam masala float in with some heat and ethnic flavor, then the coriander, paprika, white and black pepper, doing the tango on my tongue. Nice subtle hints of herbs from the fresh basil and parsley, and that dried oregano lingering like a good love song on our taste buds. I love how that lemon grass and ginger just creep up and make you smile. The salad so bright and tasty. The mango sweet, plump, and those explosions of juiciness and toothy texture coming from the Asian pear. Nice earthiness with every crunch of bean sprout and that green onion schmoozing the salad with its charisma and simple deliciousness. The dressing coating every bite with punch, acidity, and sweetness, and that sesame oil with that nutty smokiness adds so much interest in this salad and that freshness soothes that heat from the wing so well, cleansing the palate for the next flavor train ride. It is Canada Day weekend, and the backyard parties are in full planning. Try our Fifteen Spice, Double Cooked, Chicken Wings, the aroma alone will have them hooked. When they taste this dish there will be nothing but sighs of appreciation and a new found love. I am proud to be Canadian and celebrate in its diverseness in culture.
Happy 150th Birthday, Canada!
P.S.: There is a story I would like to share that brings me to my choice of a song, today. Quite a few years back, I was at an all faith celebration taking place on the grounds of a local Buddhist temple. This was a celebration of culture, spirituality, and respect for one another in a space of unity. I was scheduled to sing that day and sang Imagine by John Lennon. After I sang, a native woman came and sat with a few of us at our table. She introduced herself as Lillian Foot, a native elder in our Province. We shared many stories on our experiences, but one that she shared stuck with me and to this day, when I hear this song, I see her face and remember her amazing story. Lillian told me that in the late Sixties she was part of a protest that was happening in our City Hall square. They had teepees set up and Lillian said that a man entered her tent and announced himself simply as John. He told her he was a musician, and that he was part of a rock group. She said they shared lots of lovely stories and passions about unity, peace and love, and it came to be that this man was so inspired by what they shared, that he wrote a song, which is the song for today. I had chills running up and down my body and even some emotion, a moment I will never forget!
- 1 kg certified organic, free range grass fed chicken wings
- 2 cloves garlic
- 2 Tbsp e.v.o.oil
- 1 tsp dried oregano
- 1 tsp garlic powder
- 1 tsp paprika
- 1 tsp coriander, freshly crushed
- 1 tsp black pepper, freshly cracked
- ½ tsp white pepper
- 1 tsp onion powder
- 1 tsp fresh parsley, chopped
- 1 tsp fresh basil, chopped
- 1 Tbsp grated lemon grass
- 1 Tbsp garam masala
- 1 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
- 1 tsp chili flakes
- 2 tsp yellow curry paste
- juice of ½ lemon
- 1 tsp lemon zest
- 1 green onion
Pressure cooker sauce:
- 1 cup vegetable stock
- chink of ginger washed and dried
- 2 bay leaves
- 2 Tbsp sesame oil
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tsp black pepper
- 1 sprig of rosemary
- 2 basil leaves
Mango Asian Pear salad:
- 1 large mango
- 1 Asian pear
- ½ cup bean sprouts
- 3-4 oil packed sun dried tomatoes drained
- 3 frsh basil leaves chopped
- 1 Tbsp fresh parsley chopped
- 2 green onions chopped
- 4 Tbsp Pomegranate arils
Dressing for salad:
- 2 Tbsp peanut oil
- 1 Tbsp sesame oil
- 1 tsp mustard
- 2 tsp apricot/raspberry jam
- 2 tsp mayo
- ½ tsp chinkiang vinegar
- 1 tsp fig balsamic vinegar
- Pinch of salt
- Pinch of cracked black pepper
Garnishing for salad:
- 16 leaves of fresh organic salad greens
- Wash and dry wings, and place in a large glass deep oven dish.
- In a bowl combine,garlic, olive oil, oregano, garlic powder, paprika, coriander, black pepper, white pepper, onion powder, parsley, basil, lemon grass, fig balsamic, chili flakes, garam masala, yellow curry paste,lemon juice, lemon zest and green onion.
- Whisk well and pour over chicken wings.
- Toss the wings well making sure wings are well coated with the marinade.
- Cover with plastic wrap and store in the fridge overnight.
- Take wings out of the fridge and place marinade and wings into pressure cooker.
- Toss in vegetable stock, bay leaves, ginger, sesame oil, salt, pepper, rosemary, basil. into pressure cooker, lock lid and place on stove, med to high heat. Cook for 20 minutes.
- While wings are cooking in pressure cooker, wash and cut core out of mango.
- Peel and dice mango into bite size pieces, and place in a salad bowl.
- Wash pear and core.
- Peel and dice and place in bowl with mango.
- Toss in green onion, bean sprouts, and pomegranate arils.
- Sprinkle in basil and parsley.
- Cut sun dried tomatoes into slivers and place in bowl with mango and pear.
- In a bowl blend peanut oil, sesame oil, mustard, jam, mayo, chinkiang and fig balsamic vinegar, salt and pepper.
- Whisk until well blended, and set aside.
- Take wings out of pressure cooker after all the steam has been released.
- Place them in a barbecue basket. Close lid so that it holds the wings tight.
- Take juices from the pressure cooker and screen them into a medium sauce pan.
- Preheat barbecue to 400° F.
- Place wings on grill and cook for about 5 minutes a side or until wings get a bit of char and crispiness.
- While wings are grilling place saucepan with juices on the side burner on medium to high heat, and let reduce for about 10 minutes.
- Turn burners to low on one side of the barbecue, and place wings on this side.
- With a brush, baste wings making sure to coat the wings evenly with the pressure cooker sauce.
- Turn wings and do the same on the other side.
- Do this for about 15 minutes then take wings off grill and let rest for about 1 minute.
- Take lettuce greens and place on the bottom of a dish.
- Pour some dressing into mango pear salad and toss, taste to see if it is enough, if need be, add some more and toss.
- Place mango pear salad onto lettuce greens.
- Take wings out of basket and place some on the side of the salad.
- Garnish with some fresh chopped parsley and basil.
- Ready to serve.
Remember the wings need to mariate overnight.
If you don't have a basket you can place wings directly on grill, but place them touching one another at first.
- Serving Size: 4 servings
Need a dessert inspiration for Canada day?
Keeping the Canadian red/white theme, we suggest: Blackberry Eton Mess
or, No Bake Mini Cherry Cheese Cake in a jar.