I like Gordon Ramsay, although I am not sure exactly what I like about him. He’s loud and brash! Well, to be precise, he’s loud and brash with people who call themselves “Chefs” who try to sell their gruel to the unsuspecting public. In his TV Series Kitchen Nightmares, Chef Ramsay, on behalf of all people who have ever had a bad meal in a restaurant, yells at the Chef and yells again until they get it right! While the yelling might not be so pleasant, Chef redeems himself by being the Mother Theresa of the kitchen and by the time he leaves he has not only made them a better Chef but usually a better person too! I have been enamored with Chef Ramsay for much longer then he has been on TV in the U.S. A British pal of mine turned me on to the BBC version of Kitchen Nightmares years ago. One of the things I liked most about the British version of Kitchen Nightmares was Chef Ramsay performed more demos on how to prepare the dishes than he does on the U.S version.
Recently on Twitter I started following @GordonRamsay01. He is not a prolific twitterer but when he twitters he twitters well! Gordon twitters recipes. Delicious sounding recipes. Recipes for the home cook like Chocolate chip and Walnut Banana Bread or even videos on how to cook an Easter Leg of Lamb. But the recipe that caught my eye was for Orange and Ginger Caramelized Chicken Wings which is from a new cookbook Chef Ramsay has coming out on May 11.
Now for the food confessional. I feel nervous. What in tarnation is humble little Patty Pie doing reviewing a recipe from one of the greatest Chefs in the world? Maybe I should save myself the trouble of actually cooking the recipe and say, “It’s from Gordon Ramsey, therefore it’s excellent!” But no, I am going to take the apron by the strings, cook Gordon’s chicken wings and tell you exactly what I think. I can hear Chef Ramsay’s voice in my head right now saying “What are you doing, you donkey!” But as my friends and family know, I never let voices in my head stop me from doing anything. In fact, they often encourage me. But I digress…
Let’s start with the ingredients. The sauce is made up of shallots, garlic, lemongrass, ginger, orange juice and zest, sugar, water and fish sauce. I had no trouble finding all of these ingredients at my local grocery store. I will recommend that if you live near an Asian Market you may find items like lemongrass and ginger are fresher and usually much less expensive. In a regular supermarket you will usually find the fish sauce in the isle that has the soy sauce. Again if you get the fish sauce in an Asian Market I find it is a fraction of the cost of a regular store. I had never used lemongrass before. I found a little bundle of three stocks for $1.29. I took a little taste and it is indeed very lemony with a bit of spice. Chef Ramsay says to trim and “bash” the Lemongrass. So I trimmed any dark parts off and hit it with a meat tenderizer. I think I may have pummeled the lemongrass rather than “bash” it, because it did fall apart in a big way when it started cooking. In the recipe Chef Ramsay twittered, he has the measurement for the sugar by weight. I am not sure if that is how it will appear in the cookbook, but with my little kitchen scale I had no problem in getting the right amount. Measuring by weight is certainly a foolproof way to cook.
The recipe also calls for cooking the shallots, ginger, garlic, lemongrass and orange zest in a bit of oil before adding the liquid ingredients. This really helps in releasing the flavor into the sauce, so don’t miss that step. Once that is done you add the water, sugar and orange juice and cook for 3 minutes until the mixture is a bit syrupy. Follow Chef’s Ramsay’s directions and you can’t go wrong. Once the sauce is done, simply season the chicken with a bit of salt and pepper and sear in a bit of oil. Just remember – to get a good sear, make sure the pan is hot enough. I always just touch a corner of the meat down in the pan, and when I hear a sizzle just as the meat touches, it’s ready to go. Just remember, don’t crowd the chicken in the pan or you won’t get a nice sear. If overcrowded, the chicken will steam more than it will sear. Once you are done searing the chicken, you put it in a pan, cover it with the sauce and put it in the oven for 45 minutes, basting once half way through. Simple as pie… or even simpler. 🙂
Now for the moment of truth. How does it taste? I don’t know how else to put it, but they are terribly delicious, a bit of heaven on a chicken wing, ambrosia of the pub crowd. Or, as my husband put it, “That’s a darn good wing!” Chef Ramsay, you didn’t fail me. I served the chicken wings for dinner in a bowl over some rice with a little of the reserved sauce over top. We ate the wings with our fingers and then the rice with chopsticks. It was good. You could just as well eat these wings with a good beer while watching your favorite team.