Beer Braised Szechuan Chicken Wings

Source: Lee Anne Wong

2 pounds chicken wings
1/2 cup low-sodium soy sauce
1/4 cup dark brown sugar
2 tablespoons minced garlic
1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger
1 teaspoon Chinese five-spice powder
1 teaspoon Szechuan peppercorns, dry toasted until fragrant
5 dried red chiles, crushed
1 bunch scallions, whites sliced thinly across, greens in 2-inch pieces
1 star anise
1/4 cup rice vinegar
2 bottles ale beer, such as Bass or Sam Adams Summer Ale
4 tablespoons butter
50/50 cornstarch-all-purpose flour mixture, for dusting
Vegetable oil, for frying

In a large, heavy-bottomed pot or Dutch oven, combine the wings, soy sauce, sugar, garlic, ginger, five-spice, Szechuan peppercorns, dried chiles, scallion greens (reserve the sliced whites for garnish) and star anise. Mix all of the ingredients until well combined. You may marinate the wings overnight for a deeper flavor, if you wish.

Add the rice vinegar and beer to the pot. Bring the pot up to a boil over high heat, and then lower the heat to a rolling simmer. Braise the wings, uncovered, until they are tender, about 1 hour. Remove the wings from the braise to a sheet tray and refrigerate until cold.

Reduce the braise over medium heat until the consistency can thinly coat the back of a spoon. Strain the braising liquid through a fine mesh sieve, discarding the solids. Whisk in the butter to the glaze. Check for seasoning.

Preheat the deep-frying oil in a large pot to 375 degrees F.

Pat the chilled chicken wings dry, and then toss to coat in the cornstarch-flour mixture, shaking off any excess flour.

Deep-fry the wings in small batches, being careful to not overcrowd the pot, until dark brown and crispy, about 3 minutes. Drain the wings from the oil into a large bowl, adding the spicy beer glaze and tossing until well coated. Serve the wings hot garnished with the sliced scallion whites.

 

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