When I was given the Wing Week assignment (totally awesome e-mail to receive), I knew right off the bat that I wanted some sort of Tex-Mex or Mexican variety in the mix. It's up there with barbecue for one of my favorite cuisines. I racked my brain thinking of possibilities, everything from tequila and lime-soaked wings to ones crusted in tortilla chips. Then the term "wings al pastor" popped into my mind; I knew it was destiny.
I've been incredibly happy with this al pastor recipe, so I stuck with that as the base. The wings were given a night to soak in some flavor of the marinade, then roasted for 45 minutes in a 425°F oven and finished with a sprinkling of pineapple, cilantro, and lime juice.
I would like to congratulate my brain for thinking of these, because I totally fell in love with them. Most of the flavor came from the thick paste that clung to the wing, which deeply browned in the oven. The heat was fairly mild, but there was a strong, special earthiness from the guajillo and chipotle chilies. They definitely needed the pineapple and lime to bring some freshness to the party, otherwise they would probably fall flat. A lack of skin crispiness did leave a little something to be desired, but that was easily overlooked as juices from the chicken flowed together with the all the excellent flavors that make al-pastor-anything such a treat.
- 6 guajillo chilies
- 1 small white onion, coarsely chopped
- 3 1/2-inch thick pineapple rounds
- 1/2 cup fresh orange juice
- 1/4 cup distilled white vinegar
- 3 garlic cloves, halved
- 2 teaspoons coarse kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon dried Mexican oregano
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1 large or 2 small chipotle chilies in adobo
- 1 teaspoons adobo from canned chipotle chilies in adobo
- 3 lbs chicken wings, cut into drumettes and flats
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
- 1 lime
Preheat oven to 350°F. Place guajillo chilies on a baking sheet and heat in oven until puffed up and aromatic, about 3-5 minutes. Remove from the oven and allow to cool. Seed chilies, tear into pieces, and process in a spice grinder into a fine powder.
Coarsely chop 2 pineapple rounds, discarding core; cover and chill remaining pineapple. Place chopped onion and chopped pineapple in the jar of a blender. Add orange juice, vinegar, chili powder, garlic, salt, oregano, cumin, chipotles, and adobo; puree marinade until smooth. Place chicken wings in large resealable plastic bag. Add marinade and seal bag, releasing excess air. Turn to coat. Chill at least 4 hours to overnight.
Pre-heat oven to 425 degrees. Line rimmed baking sheet with aluminum foil and lay a wire rack inside. Arrange chicken wings on rack, leaving a little space between each wing. Place in the oven and cook until deeply browned, about 45 minutes.
Finely dice the remaining pineapple round. Move wings to a platter, sprinkle with pineapple, cilantro, and the juice of 1 lime. Serve immediately.