These wings are tender on the inside and crispy on the outside. The spices are warm and toasty and just a little hot. Love that heat? Double the chipotles and get the fire extinguisher ready! Allow at least 4 hours (and up to 24 hours) for the wings to marinate. You can make the Roasted Poblano Dipping Sauce up to 2 days in advance, so the whole dish makes for an excellent do-ahead.
Roasted Poblano Dipping Sauce:
poblano peppers, stem, ribs and seeds removed
small jalapeño pepper, stem, ribs and seeds removed
small onion, peeled
cloves garlic, peeled and halved, any green centers discarded
(small) fresh cilantro, stems and leaves
small lime (juice and zest)
ground guajillo chili powder
ground ancho chili powder
canned chipotle peppers in adobo sauce
adobo sauce (from the can)
freshly ground black pepper
fresh marjoram or oregano leaves
jarred sweet roasted red bell peppers, drained
3 to 3½ pounds
chicken wings, drumettes and wing portions separated, wing tips removed
Make the Roasted Poblano Dipping Sauce: Heat a grill to high heat. Place the peppers on the grill and grill for until the skins are blackened and blistered (about 2 to 3 minutes). (This can also be done directly over a gas flame; hold the peppers on a long-handled fork and let the skins char.) Place the charred peppers in a heat-resistant bowl and cover with plastic wrap or foil. Let stand for about 10 minutes, until cool enough to handle.
Scrape the blackened skin off the peppers (it will come off fairly easily) and place the peppers into blender or food processor. Add the onion, garlic, cilantro, olive oil, salt, and lime juice and zest and blend until smooth. Pour into a container, cover, and refrigerate until serving. (This can be made up to 2 days in advance).
Marinate the chicken wings: Combine the guajillo and ancho chili powders, cumin, chipotle peppers, adobo sauce, salt, pepper, marjoram or oregano, vinegar, and roasted peppers in a small blender or food processor and blend for about 2 minutes, until completely smooth. Pour the mixture into a large sealable plastic bag and add the chicken wings. Seal securely, releasing as much air as possible first, and smoosh to coat the wings well. Place the bag into a large bowl (to prevent spillage) and refrigerate for at least 4 hours and up to 24 hours.
When you are ready to roast the wings, preheat the oven to 385°F. Line a rimmed baking sheet with aluminum foil and place a broiling or grill rack on top. Spray with nonstick vegetable oil spray.
Remove the chicken pieces from the bag and place on the prepared baking sheet in a single layer, making sure they don’t touch. Discard the bag with the remaining marinade (see Kitchen Tip). Roast for 10 minutes, turn with tongs, and roast for 5 more minutes. Increase the oven temperature to broil and broil for 2½ to 3 minutes per side, until crispy. Serve immediately with the dipping sauce.
Tips: A. The chemicals in chili peppers that cause that wonderful feeling of heat on the tongue can cause a not-so-wonderful feeling if they get into your eyes—and can share the love with other foods on your menu. To avoid cross-contamination, avoid touching your face or eyes after cutting and trimming hot chilies. Change work surfaces and knives. Some cooks wear plastic gloves.
B. Chipotle chili is the name for the fiery smoked jalapeño. It is sold in a variety of formats, often canned in adobo sauce, a condiment made of chilies and spices. For a milder flavor, you can just use a little less. The remaining chipotles in adobo will keep, refrigerated in an airtight container, for 2 weeks.
C. Ask your butcher to separate the drummettes and wings and remove and discard the inedible wing tips.
D. Discard the marinade when you are ready to cook, as it may harbor dangerous foodborne bacteria. Some recipes suggest that you can kill any bacteria by boiling a marinade for 15 minutes but this is not true—and not safe.