Missing Oktoberfest? Choose Your Brew, Then Make Cumin Five-Spice Chicken Wings

Oktoberfest may be cancelled this year, but if you’re looking for other full-bellied ways to appreciate beer at home, try pairing your sud-of-choice with this recipe from Cathy Erway’s Sheet Pan Chicken: 50 Simple and Satisfying Ways to Cook Dinner:

Cumin Five-Spice Chicken Wings (recipe also printed below)

While your dry-rubbed chicken wings are roasting, pour a glass and queue up one of these meaty New York Times bestselling audiobooks. After all, this October isn’t for lightweights.

Author: Ken Follett
Read By: John Lee

From the #1 New York Times bestselling author, a thrilling and addictive new audiobook—a prequel to The Pillars of the Earth–set in England at the dawn of the Middle Ages.

“Just as transporting as [The Pillars of the Earth]…A most welcome addition to the Kingsbridge series.”—The Washington Post

Author: Desus & Mero
Read By: Desus & Mero

A New York Times bestseller. A wild, hilarious guide to life from the hosts of the hit late-night show Desus & Mero and the Bodega Boys podcast. As they put it: “We want to share all we’ve learned, after years in the Bronx streets, with you: the people. So with a lifetime spent building up a plethora of information from trials and tribulations and a handful of misdemeanors, we decided to write this book—a sequel to the Bible, or maybe to The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, depending on how big a nerd you are. Let this book be your North Star.”

A New York Times bestseller. From the author of the #1 New York Times bestseller On Tyranny comes an impassioned condemnation of America’s coronavirus response and an urgent call to rethink health and freedom.

Cumin Five-Spice Chicken Wings
Recipe courtesy of Sheet Pan Chicken: 50 Simple and Satisfying Ways to Cook Dinner.
Copyright © 2020 by Cathy Erway. Published by Ten Speed Press, an imprint of Penguin Random House.

The union of Chinese five-spice and chicken wings was simply meant to be. This warm, herbal spice blend gets rubbed all over the generous skin of a wing, and when roasted over high heat, it completely soars. I loved the flavor combo in my mom’s five-spice Hongxiao chicken stews when I was growing up, and while stewed wings are great if you appreciate the jellylike texture of the skin, you can instead get it nice and crispy in a hot oven. I’ve added a Western Chinese–inspired blend of cumin with a touch of Sichuan peppercorn to the dry rub here (it may make your nose twitch just a little, which is a good thing) and crisped sweet potato and eggplant spears on the same pan. Served with a glaze to splatter over everything, this is next-level Super Bowl party snack territory. Feel free to make this using any piece of bone-in chicken, increasing the oven time and chopping your vegetables into larger pieces to accommodate that.

–Serves 4–
8 whole chicken wings, or 1 to 1 1⁄2 pounds bone-in, skin-on drumsticks or thighs
1 1⁄4 teaspoons whole cumin (or 1 teaspoon ground)
1 teaspoon Chinese five-spice powder
1 teaspoon Sichuan peppercorns (substitute black peppercorns)
1 teaspoon red chile flakes
1 garlic clove, grated
3 tablespoons neutral oil, such as vegetable oil
1 pound sweet potatoes, cut into 1-inch-thick wedges
1 (1⁄2- to 3⁄4-pound) Asian eggplant, halved lengthwise and cut into 2-inch-long segments

For the glaze
1⁄3 cup packed brown sugar
1⁄4 cup ketchup
1⁄4 cup water
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1⁄4 teaspoon Chinese five-spice powder
1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil
1⁄2 cup fresh cilantro leaves and tender stems, chopped, for garnish

Preheat the oven to 450°F. Coarsely crush the Sichuan peppercorns and whole cumin seeds, if using, in a spice grinder or mortar and pestle.
In a large bowl, combine the wings, 1 teaspoon of the cumin, ½ teaspoon of the five-spice powder, ½ teaspoon of the Sichuan peppercorns, ½ teaspoon of the chile flakes, the garlic, and 1 tablespoon of the neutral oil. Stir to incorporate evenly. Arrange the wings on a sheet pan. In the same bowl, combine the sweet potatoes, eggplant, remaining ¼ teaspoon cumin, ½ teaspoon five-spice, ½ teaspoon Sichuan peppercorns, ½ teaspoon chile flakes, and 2 tablespoons neutral oil. Toss to coat. Arrange the vegetables in a single layer between and around the wings on the sheet pan.

Roast for 15 minutes, then toss the vegetables around on the pan and flip the wings. Reduce the oven temperature to 400°F and roast for another 10 to 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, make the glaze: Combine the brown sugar, ketchup, water, soy sauce, and five-spice powder in a small pot and heat over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until it begins to bubble and the sugar is dissolved. Remove from the heat and stir in the sesame oil.
Drizzle the glaze over the vegetables and wings, garnish with the cilantro, and serve.

Hungry for more recipes and audiobook pairings? Browse our Listen and Cook posts.

*Photo credit: Lizzie Munro from Sheet Pan Chicken