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Nigel Slater’s recipe for chicken wings with spicy tomato sauce

The recipe

Set the oven at 200C/gas mark 6. Put 500g of chicken wings in a roasting tin, pour over 3 tbsp of oil, season with salt and black pepper. Pull the leaves from 6 sprigs of thyme and scatter over the chicken, then tuck in 5 whole garlic cloves. Turn the wings over with your hands so they are nicely dressed with the oil and seasonings, then bake for 35-40 minutes until deep gold and crisp.

Lift the chicken out of the roasting tin and keep warm. Squeeze the soft garlic cloves from their skins into the roasting tin, then add 450g of small tomatoes, halving them as you go. Roughly chop 1 red chilli and stir in, then place the tin over a moderate heat and leave to bubble for 5 minutes, adding a little more oil if necessary, until the tomatoes are starting to soften.

Stir 1 tbsp of harissa paste into the tomatoes with a wooden spatula, then pour in 150ml of boiling water, scraping at the surface of the roasting tin as you go. Just as the tomatoes are starting to soften and the juices are bubbling, crush them roughly with a potato masher then return the wings to the pan, check the seasoning, continue cooking for a couple of minutes, then serve. Serves 2

The trick

Roast the wings for slightly longer that you think they need, so the edges become caramelised and chewy. You will need a fork or spoon for the sauce, but this is, after all, very much a fork and fingers job.

The twist

I often add a touch of red wine vinegar to a tomato sauce, and this one is no exception. (Just a splash, added at the end, when you correct the seasoning.) This is the sort of dish to which you could add touch of chilli paste instead of a fresh chilli – start with 1 tsp and work upwards to suit your taste.

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