At the end of a long fall day — after dealing with all the seasonal demands of work and school — you don’t want making dinner to be a big deal. What’s called for is something that’s idiot-proof and crowd-pleasing.
This recipe for Five-Ingredient Mexican-Style Chicken Wings presents us with everything that makes chicken delicious — skin, bones and meat — in miniature form. And the best part for the home cook is that they require no cutting up or detailed preparation. Season them, toss them in the oven and you’re done.
Whole chicken wings consist of three segments: The plump part is called the drumette (because it is a smaller version of the bird’s drumstick). The skinny segment is called the flat. And the small aerodynamic part attached to the end of the flat is called the wing tip. Ideally, you’ll pick up a package of drumettes at the store and call it a day. But dealing with whole wings is hardly a heavy lift. Just cut through the joint that connects the segments to sever the drumette from the flat. Then snip off the wing tips. (These you can toss or save to use in a stock.)
Here I’ve gussied up the wings with some Mexican ingredients, starting with chipotle-flavored garlic mayo and ending with crushed tortilla chips. If you’re scared by the amount of chipotle, just add less of it — although, trust me, the rest of the recipe’s ingredients tend to tamp down the heat. And you can reduce the total number of calories by using low-fat mayo and oven-baked tortilla chips. But do make sure the tortilla chips are seasoned. If they aren’t, mix them with a little salt after you’ve crushed them. The finishing touch? A spritz of lime — just the thing to brighten up the baked wings.
Five-Ingredient Mexican-Style Chicken Wings
Start to finish: 1 hour (20 active)
Servings: 4 to 6
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1 1/2 teaspoons minced garlic
1 tablespoon minced chipotle in adobo
12 chicken wing drumettes or 6 whole chicken wings, cut into joints
1 1/2 cups finely crushed tortilla chips
Lime wedges for garnish
Preheat oven to 400 F. Place a rack inside a rimmed sheet pan.
In a medium bowl combine the mayonnaise, garlic, chipotle and 1 tablespoon water. Add the chicken wings and toss them so that they are coated well on all sides. Roll them in the tortilla chips, making sure they are well coated on all sides and transfer them to the rack on the sheet pan.
Bake the wings on the middle shelf of the oven for 30 to 35 minutes or until they are golden brown and cooked through. Let stand for 5 minutes. Transfer to plates and serve with lime wedges.
Nutrition information per serving: 323 calories; 208 calories from fat; 23 g fat (5 g saturated; 0 g trans fats); 87 mg cholesterol; 332 mg sodium; 13 g carbohydrate; 1 g fiber; 0 g sugar; 14 g protein.
EDITOR’S NOTE: Sara Moulton is host of public television’s “Sara’s Weeknight Meals.” She was executive chef at Gourmet magazine for nearly 25 years and spent a decade hosting several Food Network shows, including “Cooking Live.” Her latest cookbook is “HomeCooking 101.”