Welcome to the 3rd annual Virtual Pumpkin Party! It’s that special time of year when everyone goes crazy for pumpkin, so a bunch of food bloggers have joined me in running with that theme – over 75 bloggers from across the globe are sharing pumpkin recipes today. We’ve got everything from cocktails to nachos to blondies to a pumpkin bread bake-off. What’s great about the pumpkin party is that it goes WAY beyond pumpkin spice. So if pumpkin spice ain’t your thang, we’ve probably still got something pumpkin-y that will get you interested. You can find all the participating recipes from this year AND past years over on my brand-new Virtual Pumpkin Party page.
As you may have noticed, there aren’t a ton of meat recipes on this blog. I usually opt for dessert and vegetarian options instead. I’m not a HUGE meat eater, and I also don’t really like to physically handle it much, which is necessary for cooking it. When it comes to meat, I like it to be as easy as possible, like throwing chicken on a sheet pan to be broiled, or in a slow cooker. My other favorite move is to cook some bacon to throw into things as an accent (like this pasta or this broccoli salad.)
As for wings, I hardly ever eat them because … well, to be honest – I’m not very good at eating them. And they’re so darn messy. It’s just too much work to be worth the effort, in my opinion. But about a year or so ago we acquired some really nice wings that were leftover from a photo shoot at Robert’s work, and things changed.
I had never cooked wings at home before, so that night I consulted my cookbooks to figure out what to do with them. I landed on a recipe for baked sesame wings from Mad Hungry: Feeding Men and Boys (one of my favorite books). I ended up DEVOURING those wings. They were delightfully crunchy – like a piece of fried chicken but without the hassle of actually frying chicken. While it’s still a messy food to eat, it was worth the hassle for me that night. I must have eaten like 20 wings, which is about 16 more than I normally would in a sitting. They were SO GOOD.
This recipe I’m sharing today is an adaptation of that baked sesame wing recipe with a pumpkin twist, thanks to some homemade pumpkin butter. It’s super easy to make the pumpkin butter, so don’t let that scare you off. (You could also use a store-bought version if you can get your hands on some.) You’ll have leftover pumpkin butter, which is great just slathered on toast, added to some waffle batter, or you could use it to make homemade pumpkin spice coffee creamer. Or just make a lot of these wings. I can say I made these wings about 5 times over the course of a month as I was perfecting the recipe, and we did not get sick of them. That’s always the true test of a good recipe around here.
The pumpkin in there is kind of subtle; it helps to make them a little more interesting. It’s not overwhelming at all, but lends that sweet/savory profile I love so much. And then the bread crumb and sesame seed coating gives them that crispy edge I love from the original recipe.
If you give these a try, please let me know. And don’t forget to check out all of the other participating pumpkin recipes over here. As always I’d like to say a HUGE thank you to everyone who participated this year. It only feels like it’s truly fall once we hit this virtual party together. It always makes me want to dive into all of these delicious fall foods. And I’m pumped because I’m having my IRL pumpkin party with friends this coming weekend. Now go stock up on some pumpkin so you can get busy cooking!
PS – if you’re a blogger interested in joining in on the fun next year, please sign up here to be notified about next year’s event.
Illustration at top created with pen and Photoshop.
Prints of my illustrations (along with other products with my work on them) are available in my Society6 shop.
- one (15-oz) can pure pumpkin puree
- ½ cup apple cider
- 2 tbsp maple syrup
- 2 tbsp light brown sugar
- ½ tsp cinnamon
- ¼ tsp ground ginger
- pinch of nutmeg
- pinch of cloves
- ½ cup pumpkin butter
- 1 egg
- ½ cup sesame seeds
- 1 tbsp all purpose flour
- ⅔ cup panko bread crumbs
- 2-3 garlic cloves, minced
- 1.5 tsp coarse kosher salt
- 3 lbs chicken wings
- Add all ingredients to a small saucepan and whisk together.
- Put over medium heat and bring to a simmer. Reduce the heat to low and let it continue to simmer gently, uncovered. Whisk occasionally as it starts to bubble.
- Cook until it looks thick and spreadable and the whisk leaves a trail. The bubbles should be bursting very slowly. (This will take about 15-20 minutes.)
- Let it cool to room temperature and store in an airtight container in the refrigerator.
- Heat oven to 375°F. Line a large baking sheet with aluminum foil and place a large cooling rack (or two smaller ones) on top.
- In a large bowl, whisk together the pumpkin butter and egg.
- In a small, wide and shallow bowl, combine the sesame seeds, flour, bread crumbs, garlic and salt.
- Add the chicken wings to the pumpkin/egg bowl and toss until they are evenly coated.
- Dip each wing into the sesame seed mixture to fully coat. Place them side by side on the cooling rack(s) on the prepared baking sheet.
- Bake for 30 minutes and then increase the oven temperature to 400°F. Cook for 10 more minutes or until the wings are golden brown and sizzling. Remove the wings from the pan immediately and serve. Enjoy!
- To eat leftovers, rewarm for 10-15 minutes in a 300°F oven, again on a cooling rack placed on a sheet pan (for the best texture).