Honeybees aren’t native to the Caribbean; they were brought over from the Old World in the early seventeenth century. Now they happily buzz around feasting on tropical plants. One of the most unusual honeys I’ve got is mango honey from St Lucia, sold in a little rum bottle with a home-produced bee label stuck on the outside. I’ve used this to make jerk chicken, but any honey will do. The nuances of a monofloral would be lost in this dish, so use a basic honey: the fundamental honey flavour comes through, as well as the shine.
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).
Feature Image: Pexels
This originally appeared on House & Garden UK | Hattie Ellis