I don't like to back down from a challenge, so trying to get more green vegetables into wings with Sobeys "Power Up With Greens" was going to test my creativity and culinary abilities. I wanted to do something that was not just making a green hot sauce, but making some unconventional wings that successfully incorporated vegetables. Let's push the limits on this one I said. Sometimes that experiementation doesn't pan out. But once in a while, you hit something that becomes a game changer.
For me, that was Taco Pepper Powder Wings.
I went with a loosely Asian/Thai wing with my Green Infused Thai Chili Wing. This time, I decided to go for a Tex-Mex theme. I was like, 'guacamole is green, and you can throw in a ton of green veggies in there that won't over power the dish.' I also knew I wanted to get more veggies into the wings. Oh I could have been content with the side dip, but the plan was to push the envelope.
I knew I wanted a crunchier, spicier wing than last time. Doritos chips as a breading seemed like a natural solution. But what about the greens?
What if I dehydrated a bunch of veggies and turned that into a powder to coat the wings? How hard could that be?
TACO PEPPER POWDER WINGS
1. 20 wings
2. 1 pkg taco seasoning
3. 2-3 Dashes hot sauce
4. 2/3 of 245g Bag of Jalapeno Cheddar Doritos
5. 1 jalapeno sliced
6. 1 poblano pepper julienned
7. 1 spicy green pepper julienned
8. handful of Thai Chilies sliced
9. 1 cup peas
10. 1 cup shelled edamame
11. 4 green onions sliced
12. 2.5 cups kale
This is easy, but also time consuming process, but it was also a learning process for me. My buddy Jason was on hand and was a super help in my prep process and thinking things through. He also took most of the photos for me - thank you for your help!
First step was to assemble some of the basic ingredients. Missing is the pepper powder.
In a big freezer bag I added wings (split, fresh) and added a few healthy dashes of hot sauce. What was the amount? I don't know - I don't work in measurements. But I'd say 2-3 good dashes to make the wings wet. Then I added a taco seasoning packet. Mix mix mix, and into the fridge to marinate.
Next step - DEHYDRATION.
So I've never dehydrated before. I wanted to be honest and up front about that, because I don't really know what I'm doing. But it worked out. I read a bunch of websites and blogs to figure out how to dehydrate in an oven. I found no consistancy in drying times and what not, so I just took a stab at it but here are my general tips for the oven:
- Cut the veggies as small as possible to help with the process
- I put them on baking sheets with tin foil
- temperature on my oven was about 100 degrees Fahrenheit, with the door left open with a balled up tinfoil wedge to keep it from closing
- The tinfoil ring in the above photos was there to act as a platform to put another tray on top so I could get 3 trays in my oven. I put it on another platter when I actually put them in the oven.
- The pepper tray and the kale/green onion tray took about 2 hours of dehydrating time. Not shown is edamame and peas which took about 3 hours from a frozen state.I did not use them in the recipe just so you know.
- Kale does not shrink, but it got crispy and was an interesting snack on it's own. At least to me.
- It worked. It actually worked.
Here are the peppers after 2 hours. Shrivelled and crispy. I have to be honest again, I didn't think this would work and it would take like 6 hours to achieve this like many blogs said it would. Whew!
I mashed a bunch of the veggies in a bowl to fit it in my spice grinder (aka coffee grinder) which was on it's maiden use. I blended in batches because there was too much to fit in the device. It was great because in 1, 2, 3 pulses I had this vibrant green powder.
I did not take a picture of the powder because, well that would just make sense. But with so much going on in the kitchen, things like that happen. Just thing green.
SAFETY TIP: I used several peppers, and with the Thai chili pepper, and the jalapeno, this dust became a biting heat. Opening the canister let off a puff of spice into the air and into my lungs. I don't do drugs, but there was a moment when I got a tiny crazy high from spiking Scoville goodness.
Next step, get your green flavoured Doritos. I was looking for Guac, we saw Dill (dill just wouldn't be right for this recipe) when Jason spotted Jalapeno & Cheddar. Brilliant.
About 2/3rds of the bag went into a freezer bag, crush crush crush with the rolling pin and you have Dorito dust.
The Pepper Powder was added to the Dorito Dust and an amazing smelling breading was created. Now I know what it is to be a god and to create. Ok that might be a bit much, but this was exciting.
I rolled the slightly wet wings into the breading mixture. I was taken aback by the creation; what was this before me - it was like no wing I had ever seen before. This was different. I felt like Victor Frankenstein standing over his creature, Tesla coils shooting lighting in the background, yelling "It's alive! It's alive!" Only I knew this was no monster, and this would not end in tragedy.
Just bask in all the pre-baked wing glory.
The oven was at 450 degrees on a wire rack for about 45 minutes, flipping once halfway through. In the meantime, I decided to make some guac sauce.
TACO PEPPER POWDER WINGS
- 1.5 Cup of Mayo
- Spoonful of Wasabi Horseradish
- 1 Cup of Peas
- 1 Cup of shelled Edamame
- 1/4 of a Red Onion
- 1 Diced Jalapeno
- 3 Avocados
- 1 spoonful Garlic, Chili, Ginger
- Juice of 1 Lime
- Salt & Pepper
This was a riff on my standard guacamole sauce, but designed to add more greens and be more of a thinner sauce than a thick dip.
Now - how to prep an avocado in 6 easy steps.
- Slice into the ripe avocado ( it will be slightly squishy) lengthwise until you reach the pit. Then spin around the pit until you've gone all the way around.
- Holding the bottom in one hand, use your other hand to spin the top half on the pit.
- Pull apart. That was easy.
- Carefully hack the pit with your knife and it will just pop out.
- Do 2 more times. KEEP THE PIT!!! I don't understand the science or the witchcraft, but keeping the pit embedded into your guac will help prevent it from browning.
- Use a spoon to scoop out the flesh of the avocado. The riper the 'cado, the easier it is.
What else went in? Some boiled edamame and peas, some red onion, some jalapenos.
After a failed attempt at mashing peas & edamame (I don't want to talk about it, but I will say that if you try to mash these things, hold the bowl, otherwise you will have a big mess and a lot less veggies to work with) I put them in a food processor and wizzed them up. I also added some mayo early on just to give some liquid.
Then mash mash mash the avocado. For normal guac I would keep it kinda chunky, but this sauce needed to be smooth.
Everything into the bowl. We tasted it and realized it needed more salt and pepper and some extra lime juice.
Final product: Muy Verde (very green) Guac Sauce. Popped that into the fridge to meld and chill until the wings were ready.
May I present, Taco Pepper Powder Wings with Muy Verde Guac Sauce.
So the smell of the wings was mouth watering in my apartment. When they came out, they were definitely not green anymore, but they looked amazing. I think anyway.
Flavour was great. We were working on many different levels: you've got that Taco seasoning base, then you've got that classic Dorito chip taste, but then the Pepper Powder sneaks up and hits you from the side.
This was the definition of texture. Look above; it's like the earth was exploding and the mantle was breaking away.
That Pepper Powder got your mouth burning? Muy Verde Gauc Sauce to the rescue.
Mild, but refreshing, this sauce made it easy to have your heat and cool down too. And look how green it is! The peas and the edamame blended into this recipe pretty easily. There was a texture addition of the soy beans, but nothing that was detrimental to the sauce. What a sneaky way to get even more greens into a dish!
Here's what Jason had to say, paraphrased by me:
- Intensely spicy. Surprisingly spicy.
- Deceivingly spicy because they don't look like they will be - people assume if there is a sauce it will be spicy, but the powdered spices had such a big impact, but tasted good. A good balance of heat and flavour.
- loved them - small heart attack from the heat, that led me to go unconscious, then wake up and want more wings.
- I prefer dry wings so I liked these
On the Guac Sauce
- did not think I would like guacamole but I liked this
- cool - light dip, not heavy or filling. Complimented the spicy wings with the cool dip, but you`ve still got that natural avocado sweetness.
I learned so much from this particular project. These were great wings and there is not much I would change.
I fell in love with the Pepper Powder. It`s such a strong flavour and heat that can easily be incorporated with sauces. I can`t wait to experiment with more peppers and other veggies. It was a long process but it was well worth it.
My Taco Pepper Powder wings are going to give you a crunch, a bite, and a flavour journey. These are NEXT LEVEL.
Bueno. Muy bueno.
POWER UP WITH GREENS:
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