Chicken wings with mushrooms

It seemed like a good idea to cook this dish for the 10th anniversary of my doctoral exam. It is almost finger food, it is somehow Spanish and its recipe seemed straightforward enough. For an extra touch of nerdiness, I could even use the same species of mushrooms I used for my PhD (Pleurotus eryingii, if you really must know).

Then, I realized the recipe called for 30 (thirty) garlic cloves for 6 persons. Cook for twelve, and you’ll end up with 60 (sixty) of them to peel and slice. I.e. at an average of 10 cloves per head, 6 garlic bulbs. Or, if you want to be very precise, at an average of 90g per bulb, about 540g of garlic to slice. In total, it was a 1h long operation that left me with tears in the eyes, redness in the fingers and the taste of garlic in the back of my throat. Needless is to say that after that I just had to had a shower before I find myself ready to face the company of civilized people. It took a good couple of weeks until I felt the need of using garlic, either in major or minor proportions.

At some point, I was getting concerned this dish would actually work. For more drama, after having seen a big bowl of garlic being poured into the concoction, my suffering testers dinner guests were showing an increasing preoccupation about its palatability. It was a wasted worry. It was indeed a delicious dish.  A bit garlicky, but far to be the garlic overdose some catastrophists had anticipated. The white wine just cuts the grease, the thyme added some freshness to it, the chicken wings get soft and tender… Perfection on a small dish cooked with humble ingredients.

Chicken wings with mushrooms (adapted from  Ferran Adrià’s The Family Meal)

Ingredients (for 6)

  • 18 chicken wings, tips removed and cut in half through the joint
  • 100mL olive oil
  • 360g of mushrooms, sliced (it can be button mushrooms, chanterelles, shitake, Pleurotus, all the above, other that is on season. On this occasion, I just got a mixed bag from my local supermarket).
  • 30 (thirty) garlic cloves roughly sliced
  • 3 dried bay leaves
  • 3 fresh thyme springs, leaves pulled out
  • 180mL white wine
  • 150mL water
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Method

1. Season the half chicken wings with salt and pepper.

2. Heat the olive oil in a large pan until it is hot and add the chicken wings. Cook them gently for about 30min, turning regularly.

3. When the chicken wings are evenly browned, drop in the garlic and cook for 5 more minutes.

4. Add the bay leaves and the thyme and mix.

5. Poor in the white wine, and turn up the heat and let it simmer until the wine has reduced a little.

6. Add the mushrooms and cook for 2 minutes until they are well incorporated with the meat, garlic and herbs.

7. Poor in the water and let it simmer until it has evaporated and the mushrooms are soft.

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