Maple Dijon Wings
One of my closest friends - back in Minneapolis - frequently posts the wing flavours she’s trying at a local restaurant.
Sometimes the wings she posts about sound really good, some are very much “what were they thinking??”. She goes with a few friends, and they all comment with their impressions of each flavour.
A while back, she posted about a “Canadian” themed one. It - much like anything passed off as “Canadian” in Minneapolis, LOL* - didn’t seem very Canadian at all: Bourbon, brown sugar, maple syrup, sea salt.
So, ok, there’s Maple syrup in there, and that’s it. The brown sugar would likely drown out that flavour (iirc, they confirmed this to be the case), there’s nothing really to balance out the sweetness, and really... why bourbon? Why not a Canadian whiskey?
* Ok, as a tangent... there was literally one place in all of Minneapolis that sold anything identifiable as poutine when we were there... and a bunch selling completely random nonsense they’d label “poutine”.
At one bar - specifically a Canadian themed bar! - the “poutine” was fries, gravy, and just a pile of shredded melted mozzarella completely covering it all. It looked like a pizza!
It became SUCH a joke, I started a Poutine Shaming Tumblr to amuse myself!
Despite being the mother of all walking Canadian stereotypes - short of being into hockey, anyway! - I’ve never actually had maple syrup on wings.
Maple Dijon Wings
I decided that - done right - it could be very good. I’m not opposed to sweet wings - Honey Garlic Wings are among my absolute favourites, after all.
I just think that maple on its own, with its sweetness not balanced out with savoury elements sounds disgusting for wings. Maple syrup and brown sugar as the flavour base for a sauce sounds far too much like breakfast, IMHO.
So I thought of how I’d do a maple based wing.
The sweetness would have to come from JUST maple syrup - there’s no sense using such a fantastic flavour, only to mute or drown it out with the molasses taste of brown sugar.
Just be sure to use actual maple syrup - sap that has been extracted from a maple tree and boiled down, with nothing else added.
Pancake syrup and anything with corn syrup or added sugar is NOT maple syrup.
I’m sure this seems like a weird thing to have to specify, but a recent conversation opened my eyes to the fact that some people use “Maple Syrup” as a generic term for “syrup that goes on pancakes”.
So here we are, with me being worried about bridging the gap between “doing the community service of preventing someone from making these with pancake syrup” and “sounding like the Canadian version of a Mansplainer.”
Cansplainer? Between the poutine thing and the maple syrup thing...maybe I am a Cansplainer. Sorry!
I thought of the Maple Dijon Vinaigrette on my Roasted Radish Salad, and decided to loosely base my Maple Dijon Wings recipe on those flavours.
Besides, while brown sugar and bourbon aren’t very Canadian - thinking back to the inspiration for this recipe - mustard is ABSOLUTELY Canadian.
Canada produces and exports the most mustard seed in the world, after all. Even fancy French brands use Canadian mustard seeds to produce their Dijon!
Personally, my favourite brand of mustard of all time is Kozlik’s Canadian Mustard, and it was their Dijon that I used in designing this recipe.
I first “discovered” Kozlik’s when wandering the St Lawrence Market more than 15 years ago, and I was immediately IN LOVE.
They were set up to allow sampling of many of their flavours, and that absolutely led to me buying far more mustard than I’d ever purchased at a time!
When my husband came up to Canada for our second date - New Years Eve, 2005! - he was similarly enamored with them.
When I moved to the US, nothing compared to Kozlik’s... so I’d bribe friends to bring back Kozlik’s whenever they’d visit Toronto.
Sometimes they were successful... other times it would get confiscated by airport security. Boo!
Now, I don’t even have to make the trek in to Toronto to get it - they sell it in grocery stores here in Hamilton. SCORE!
I love living here. Anyway, I digress...
We may not rank in terms of garlic production, but I LOVE garlic, so it’s in there. Garlic, Dijon, and Maple Syrup is such a great flavour combination.
The Lemon juice adds a touch of acidity, to balance out the maple sweetness.
Air Fryer Wings
I’ve never really been a fan of baked wings, so if I was going to cook wings, it meant deep frying. I just prefer the texture of both the skin and the meat when it’s deep fried, vs oven baked.
... but I’m not usually a fan of deep fried food, as I don’t like greasy foods. Wings are the BIG exception. It just makes it less reasonable to bother owning a deep fryer, in our case.
Also, deep frying is a pain, IMHO. I don’t like messing around with the oil - and straining / repackaging oil afterwards.
Early on in the current situation, we purchased an air fryer, and LOVE IT. Its been great for getting that crispy, deep fried feel with the wings, without all the hassle and grease.
The Instant Vortex 4-in-1 Air Fryer, 6 Quart by Instant Pot is the Air Fryer we purchased.
My ONLY issue with it is that - if I had my time back - I may have ordered this one - a size bigger.
We had no idea if we’d like it, how much we’d use it, etc... and I wasn’t really willing to pay more or sacrifice even more counter space to find out. Whoops!
When air fryers first came out, I thought they were gimmicky and ridiculous. I didn’t know much about them, but had no desire to find out more - I’m always wary of buying trendy new gadgets for the kitchen.
Now, I wish I’d jumped on the bandwagon sooner. Wings and fries, especially, are absolutely amazing in an air fryer. I’m a believer now!
We even did an experiment to figure out How To Cook Perogies in an Air Fryer - fantastic!
So - as you may have guessed - I absolutely recommend an air fryer for this recipe.
If you don’t have one, I do have instructions up for deep frying or baking your wings for this, as well.
If you’re into Canadian food, you should definitely check out my cookbook, "More Than Poutine: Favourite Foods from my Home and Native Land”.
"More than Poutine" is a Canadian cookbook like no other - written by a Canadian living away, it includes both traditional home cooking recipes, as well as accurate homemade versions of many of the snacks, sauces, convenience foods, and other food items that are hard to come by outside of Canada! Order your copy here on this site, through Amazon, or through any major bookseller!
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On to that Maple Dijon Glazed Wings recipe, eh?