- 5 pounds chicken wings, separated at joints, and wing tips reserved for stock
- 1 cup fresh squeezed orange juice
- 1/2 cup lime juice
- 1 cup buttermilk
- 2 tablespoons minced garlic
- 3 tablespoons Emeril's Southwest Essence, divided, recipe follows
- 1 tablespoon kosher salt
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- Vegetable oil, for frying
- Creamy Chipotle-Cilantro Sauce, recipe follows
- Kicedk-Up Jalapeno Poppers, recipe follows
Place the chicken in a 1-gallon resealable plastic food storage bag. In a medium bowl, combine the orange juice, the lime juice, the buttermilk, garlic, 1 tablespoon of the Southwest Essence and the kosher salt. Mix well to combine and pour over the chicken in the bag. Seal the bag and refrigerate overnight, or at least 12 hours, turning the bag occasionally to ensure even marinating.
Preheat the oven to 200 degrees F.
Set a large, 6-quart cast iron Dutch oven over medium-high heat with 3-quarts of vegetable oil. Heat the oil to 350 degrees F using a frying thermometer to gauge the temperature of the oil. (alternatively, preheat a deep-fryer to 350 degrees F.) Remove the chicken from the refrigerator, drain thoroughly in a colander, and set aside until ready to fry.
Place the flour and remaining 2 tablespoons of the Southwest Essence in a 1-gallon resealable plastic food storage bag and place the chicken, 8 pieces at a time, in the flour and shake to coat. Lay the coated chicken on a wire rack set over a sheet pan to rest for 20 minutes before frying. Continue with the remaining chicken pieces until all of the chicken has been coated. Fry the chicken, in batches, until they are golden brown and begin to float, 10 to 13 minutes. Place the fried chicken on a paper-lined sheet pan and place in the oven to keep warm as you fry the rest of the chicken. Be sure to allow the oil to return to 350 degrees F or so before adding more chicken to the hot oil. Serve with the Creamy Chipotle-Cilantro Sauce and the Kicked-Up Jalapeno Poppers on the side.
Emeril's Southwest Seasoning:
- 2 tablespoons chili powder
- 2 teaspoons ground cumin
- 2 tablespoons paprika
- 1 teaspoon black pepper
- 1 tablespoon ground coriander
- 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 1 tablespoon garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper
- 1 tablespoon salt
- 1 tablespoon dried oregano
Combine all ingredients thoroughly.
Yield: 1/2 cup
For the Creamy Chipotle Cilantro Sauce:
- 1 1/2 cups sour cream
- 1/2 cup mayonnaise
- 2 tablespoons chipotle in adobo sauce
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
Yield: about 2 cups
For the Kicked-Up Jalapeno Poppers:
- Vegetable oil, for frying
- 24 fresh large jalapeno peppers (or more if peppers are small)
- 8 ounces cream cheese, softened
- 1 cup grated Pepper Jack cheese
- 8 slices bacon, cooked and crumbled
- 1 1/2 teaspoons Southwest Essence, divided
- 1 cup all-purpose flour plus 3 tablespoons, divided
- 2 large eggs, lightly beaten
- 3 cups panko bread crumbs
In a deep-fryer or heavy-bottomed stock pot add enough oil to come 1/3 of the way up the sides of the pan. Heat oil to 360 degrees F over medium heat.
Cut a slit lengthwise in each pepper down 1 side to create a pocket. Leave stem intact and remove seeds, if desired.
Combine the cream cheese, pepper Jack, crumbled bacon, and 1/2 teaspoon of the Southwest Essence. Place mixture in a re-sealable plastic food storage bag or large piping bag. (If using a food storage bag, cut and remove 1 corner of the bag, making a hole large enough so that the bacon will squeeze through.) Squeeze mixture to the bottom of the bag and fill each pepper with as much of the cream cheese mixture as will fit. Press slit edges of the pepper together to seal.
Set up a standard breading by placing 1 cup of flour in a shallow bowl, eggs in a separate shallow bowl and then place remaining 3 tablespoons flour, panko crumbs, and remaining teaspoon of the Southwest Essence in a shallow bowl or plate, and stir to combine.
Working in batches, dip the stuffed jalapenos into the flour, then into the egg mixture and then roll in the panko mixture, pressing to coat.
Working in batches, gently lower the jalapenos in the preheated oil and fry until golden brown, 1 to 2 minutes. Remove from the oil and drain on a paper-towel lined plate. Cool slightly before serving.