By Will Grunewald
From our February 2023 issue
Does It, Stephen King’s tale of a shape-shifting evil that feeds on children, make people hungry? Perhaps so, now that cookbook author Theresa Carle-Sanders has mined King’s novels for culinary references and spun them into recipes in Castle Rock Kitchen: Wicked Good Recipes from the World of Stephen King (Ten Speed Press, $35). Readers of It will recall the Losers Club meeting at Jade of the Orient, a restaurant inspired by Bangor’s real-life Oriental Jade. Before their fortune cookies open to reveal eyeballs and bloody molars, the gang digs into spare ribs, egg rolls, and “chicken wings that had been delicately braised.” Carle-Sanders prepares the latter in the Chinese red-cooking style. They’re sweet and savory and quite unscary.
16 chicken mid-joint wings
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
2 garlic cloves, halved
1-inch piece ginger, peeled and quartered
2 whole star anise
1-inch piece cinnamon stick
½ cup water
¼ cup Shaoxing wine (available in Asian groceries and many supermarkets) or dry sherry
1½ tablespoons soy sauce
1½ tablespoons dark soy sauce (available in Asian groceries and online) or 1½ tablespoons soy sauce mixed with 1 teaspoon molasses and ¼ teaspoon granulated sugar
1 tablespoon Chinese rock sugar, crushed (available in Asian groceries and online) or 2 teaspoons granulated sugar
green onions, white and green parts, finely chopped
Fill a medium saucepan halfway with water and bring to a boil over high heat. Add the chicken wings and blanch until blood and other impurities float to the surface, 3 to 5 minutes. Drain and rinse the wings.
Position an oven rack 6 inches below the top element of the oven and heat the broiler.
In a large ovenproof skillet over medium-high heat, warm the vegetable oil until shimmering. Add the wings and fry, turning occasionally, until both sides are golden, 7 to 10 minutes. Scatter the garlic, ginger, star anise, and cinnamon stick among the wings and stir until fragrant, about 1 minute. Pour in the ½ cup water, wine, and both soy sauces. Bring to a boil, then lower the heat and simmer briskly until the sauce is syrupy and reduced by about half, turning the wings occasionally, 12 to 15 minutes. Add the sugar to the pan and toss gently. Flip all the wings top-side up. Discard the garlic, ginger, star anise, and cinnamon stick.
Transfer the wings to the oven. Broil until the skin is bubbling and the sauce is reduced to a glossy coat, about 2 minutes.
Transfer the wings to a plate, garnish with green onions, and serve immediately.