Chef’s Caribbean-Scottish heritage conjures up jerk hen wings

By Richard Vines / Bloomberg News

James Cochran is one of the UK’s most exciting young chefs.

He knows the classics after working for Chef Brett Graham at the two Michelin-starred restaurant The Ledbury and the one-star Harwood Arms Pub. But James is famous for colorful and expressive dishes inspired by his mixed heritage. He grew up on the English coast of Kent, where he took in his father’s Scottish cuisine, his mother’s West Indian creations, and her love of fried chicken.

James’ tiny 12:51 restaurant in Islington, North London is closed due to the coronavirus lockdown, but you can try this recipe for jerk yogurt chicken wings with pineapple, rum, peanuts and mint. I cooked it at home and was surprised how much flavor it gave as the dish was so easy to prepare and cook.

He says the recipe below is for two hungry chicken lovers, or for a group of four as a starter or snack. I scaled it down for one (see photo) and it worked well without requiring any special skills or anything other than basic kitchen equipment.

Wanking chicken wings with pineapples and peanuts

2 cups of natural yogurt

1 onuce jerk spice

A good pinch of salt

4.4 pounds organic chicken wings

1 pineapple

3.4 ounces of dark rum

7 ounces dry roasted peanuts, lightly crushed

1 bunch of mint

Mix the yoghurt, jerky spice and salt. Add chicken wings to marinate, ideally overnight.

Preheat the oven to 428 degrees and place the wings on a baking sheet. Be sure to shake off the excess yogurt. Roast for 25 minutes until crispy and golden brown.

In the meantime, peel and dice the pineapple and marinate in dark rum.

Place the chicken wings on a large platter, then add the rum and pineapple mixture. Sprinkle with peanuts and mint leaves and enjoy with an ice cold beer.

Serves 2 for dinner, 4 as a starter.