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WanderSups: Love Buffalo wings? Try this. . .

“This dish delivers in spades: if you only cook one thing this month, let this be it.” Hannah Gregory, Velvet’s resident recipe writer, serves up her take on Buffalo wings and ranch sauce - nduja chicken thighs with smoky garlic yoghurt

Hannah's obsession with nduja runs deep. . .
Hannah's obsession with nduja runs deep. . .

This dish was birthed out of an obsession with two things - nduja and chicken wings. When I started working on this recipe, the original plan was for it to be centred around the wing portion of the bird.

I wanted to recreate the beloved Buffalo wing, but replace the American-centric luminous orange sauce with a slightly more refined European version. Don’t get me wrong, there is absolutely nothing wrong with the traditional Buffalo sauce - I could near enough bathe in the stuff - but my love for nduja runs deep and I like to try to incorporate it in as many things as possible.

On testing the recipe, it was good but it wasn’t great. The sauce was sensational but there just wasn’t enough meat to balance it - it needed something girthier to cling to and so the idea of replacing the wings with thighs came about.

Of course the best bit of the wing is the crispy skin, so it was essential this was recreated - no flabby flesh on this plate please and thanks - which is why it is so important to dry out your thighs (the chickens’, not yours) overnight. This is what creates the shattering crunch.

The wings that inspired this dish usually come with a dose of something cooling to balance the heat, either in the form of a blue cheese or ranch sauce. My iteration is a subtle-yet-smoky garlic yoghurt which, combined with the nduja hot sauce, creates this perfect matrimony of heat and cool that is utterly addictive.

And so a dish that, in my head, was all piles of wings with a sauce for dunking, became something a little more refined and even more delicious than I could have ever thought.

Using thighs also results in the chicken being baked rather than deep-fried so take that as a small win if you need to. Serve with a lemony rocket salad and something suitable to mop up all the remaining sauce; roast new potatoes or hunks of sourdough work a treat.

This dish is so quick and easy to create and delivers in absolute spades. I insist: if you only cook one thing this month, let this be it.

WanderSups - Nduja Chicken Thighs
WanderSups - Nduja Chicken Thighs

Nduja Chicken Thighs with Smoky Garlic Yoghurt
Serves: 2

What you need:
● 4 chicken thighs, bone in, skin on. Preferably organic

● Glug olive oil

● Salt and peps

● 120g nduja

● 100g unsalted butter

● Pinch garlic granules

● Pinch cayenne pepper

● 1 tablespoon sherry vinegar

● 200g full-fat Greek yoghurt

● 1 clove garlic crushed

● 1 teaspoon smoked Maldon salt flakes

● Fresh parsley to garnish

How you do it:
1. The night before you plan to cook, take your thighs out of their packaging and pop onto a plate. Leave uncovered in the fridge until ready to use.

2. Preheat your oven to 200°C.

3. Heat the olive oil in an ovenproof pan, season the thighs and sear all over until golden.

4. Transfer the pan to the oven and bake for 30 minutes.

5. Whilst the chicken is cooking, crack on with your sauce. Add the nduja to the saucepan and gently heat, breaking it up with a wooden spoon until it is a bubbling paste and has taken on a bit of colour, about five minutes.

6. Add the butter and let it melt into the nduja, stirring every so often.

7. When the butter has melted and combined with the nduja, add the vinegar, cayenne and garlic granules. Stir to combine and then keep covered over a low heat. It often looks like it is splitting but don’t worry, it will come back together as long as you don’t heat it too aggressively.

8. Meanwhile, place a heatproof bowl over a pan of simmering water. Add the yoghurt and heat gently until it is the consistency of double cream.

9. Add the crushed garlic and smoked salt and stir well.

10. Turn the heat off but keep the bowl where it is to keep it warm.

11. When the chicken has had 30 minutes, remove from the oven. Give the nduja sauce a final stir and then pour all over the chicken. Make sure you toss the thighs so they are completely coated. Return back to the oven to bake for another 10 minutes.

13. Finely chop the parsley.

14. To serve, spoon the garlic yoghurt onto a plate, pile on the chicken thighs, spooning over any extra sauce you have, and sprinkle with the chopped parsley.

15. Serve with a lemony rocket salad and something suitable to mop up all the remaining sauce - roast new potatoes or hunks of sourdough work a treat.

A former BBC MasterChef quarter finalist, Hannah runs supper club, pop-up and private chef service WanderSups - “serving meals created with love, inspired by journeys around the world, dished up on home turf” - and is the brains behind TACOR, the taqueria coming to Bury St Edmunds soon. . . To find out more follow @WanderSups or visit wandersups.com.

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