Moroccan-flavored chicken wings will score big at your Super Bowl party

Super Bowls and chicken wings are always a winning combo, but they’re both better when they’re unpredictable.

While wings coated in a vinegary hot sauce and served with a thick blue cheese dressing can be delicious, it’s hard to land a touchdown when everyone knows exactly what you’re about to do.

But enough football talk. This week’s Harissa Honey Chicken Wings are sure to score (sorry), whether or not you’re watching the game.

A good chicken wing isn’t as easy to make as it may seem. Deep frying is one way to ensure a crisp skin, but it’s also a commitment that takes a lot of oil and can add a fair amount of extra calories.

Baking chicken wings eliminates a lot of the muss and fuss, but a baked wing can often be a little on the ho-hum side, lacking the crispy skin that makes a fried wing so good.

Luckily, there is a way to get the best of both worlds, and baking powder is the not-so-secret ingredient.

The scientific explanation of why the unlikely combination of wing and baking powder works so well is a little complicated, so I’ll cut to the chase: Baking powder enhances the browning process and creates tiny bubbles on the surface of the skin that, when baked in a hot oven, results in an ultra-crispiness that rivals fried chicken.

The baking powder doesn’t leave any flavor, but the spices that go on the wings before baking definitely do. A combination of coriander, cumin, cinnamon and ginger, typical in Moroccan fare, makes up the rub, along with salt and a generous amount of black pepper. The aroma the wings give off while they’re cooking is intoxicating, to say the least.

A quick and easy glaze, made from harissa (a Moroccan hot pepper paste found in the global aisle of most grocery stores), honey and a splash of lemon juice brings the sweet, the heat and the stickiness that takes these wings from meh to memorable .

Together, the spices and the glaze offer a unique take on a favorite dish, and no one will see it coming.

Harissa Honey Chicken Wings

Serves 4.

Note: Hot, sweet, tender and full of spices, these wings have it all and are sure to score big, whether you’re watching the big game or not. Baking powder and a hot oven are key to getting an ultra-crispy skin. Harissa, a North African hot pepper paste, can be found in either the global aisle or hot sauce section of most grocery stores. Sriracha can be substituted, if desired. From Meredith Deeds.

• 1 tbsp. baking powder

• 1 1/2 tsp. salt

• 1 tsp. ground cumin

• 1 tsp. ground coriander

• 1/2 tsp. ground ginger

• 1/2 tsp. cinnamon

• 1/2 tsp. freshly ground black pepper

• 2 lb. chicken wings, cut into drumettes and flats

• 1/4 c. harissa paste (see Note)

• 1/4 c. honey

• 1 tbsp. lemon juice

• Chopped green onions, for garnish

• Lemon wedges

Directions

Line a large, rimmed baking sheet with aluminum foil and place a wire rack inside.

In a small bowl, combine the baking powder, salt, cumin, coriander, ginger, cinnamon and pepper.

Dry wings thoroughly with paper towels and place them in a large bowl and sprinkle the spice mixture over the top. Toss to coat thoroughly. Let sit for 2 minutes and toss again (this allows the wings to absorb all of the rub). Arrange chicken wings on the wire rack and place, uncovered, in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes, or up to 8 hours.

Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Back for 15 minutes. Turn wings and continue baking for another 15 minutes. Turn wings again and bake for 15 to 20 minutes, until wings are crispy and browned.

In a large bowl, whisk together the harissa, honey and lemon juice. Add baked wings and toss to coat. Transfer wings to a serving platter and sprinkle green onions over the top. Serve lemon wedges on the side.

Meredith Deeds is a cookbook author and food writer from Edina. Reach her at meredithdeeds@gmail.com. Follow her on Instagram at @meredithdeeds.

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