Jerk is the quintessential flavour of Jamaican food. The exact ingredients vary, but it must be spicy, hot and slightly sweet. Honey provides the sweet; the fruity Scotch bonnet chilli brings the heat. The spices should certainly include allspice, from the beautiful trees that you find all over Jamaica. Plenty of nutmeg is also an essential guest at this flavour party and so is thyme. Vary your jerk according to your tastes and develop your own house special.
These wings also cook brilliantly on the barbecue. Sweet potato wedges would be a great partner.
For the wings
- 20 chicken wings
- lime wedges to serve
For the jerk marinade
- thumb-sized piece of fresh ginger, finely chopped
- 2 garlic cloves, roughly chopped
- green parts of 4 spring onions, roughly chopped
- ¼–½ Scotch bonnet chilli (or other chilli), deseeded and finely chopped
- 1 tsp fresh thyme leaves
- 2 tsp finely grated nutmeg
- 1 tsp ground allspice
- 1 tsp salt
- 3 tbsp honey
- 100ml/3½fl oz cider vinegar
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- Put all the ingredients for the jerk marinade in a small blender and whizz to a smooth paste. (Alternatively, chop and grate everything up as small as possible and mix together.) Put the chicken wings in a non-metallic dish and mix thoroughly with the marinade. Cover and leave in the fridge for at least 1 hour and ideally overnight.
- Preheat the oven to 190°C/375°F/Gas 5 and line a baking sheet with baking parchment. Add the chicken wings, ideally with a little space between them, and spoon over the jerk marinade.
- Cook the wings for 45 minutes, spooning the marinade over once or twice, until the marinade has reduced right down to a sticky coating but hasn’t burnt. Serve hot or warm with a wedge of lime to squeeze over.
A recipe from Spoonfuls of Honey by Hattie Ellis (Pavilion). Buy the book here.