Top Chef’s Recipe for Jerk Chicken Wings With Pineapple, Peanuts
Chicken wings, slathered in a mixture of salt, sugar and tongue numbing Sichuan peppercorns, are served at Mission Chinese in New York, U.S. (Photographer: Lili Rosboch/Bloomberg)

Top Chef’s Recipe for Jerk Chicken Wings With Pineapple, Peanuts

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

He knows the classics, having worked for chef Brett Graham at the two-Michelin-star restaurant The Ledbury and the one-starred Harwood Arms pub. But James is famed for colorful and punchy dishes inspired by his mixed heritage. He grew up on England’s Kent coast, where he absorbed his father’s Scottish cooking and his mother’s West Indian creations and her love of fried chicken.

James’s tiny restaurant 12:51, in Islington, north London, is currently closed because of the coronavirus lockdown. If you’re in London, you could order his takeaway meals, or you could try this recipe for jerk yogurt chicken wings with pineapple, rum, peanuts and mint. I cooked it at home and was surprised at how much flavor there was, considering the dish was so simple to prepare and cook.

Top Chef’s Recipe for Jerk Chicken Wings With Pineapple, Peanuts

(James has also donated a chicken recipe to Community Comfort. It’s a charity cookbook with more than 100 chefs, restaurateurs and others in food — all people of color — raising money and awareness for black and minority ethnic sufferers of Covid-19, who have been disproportionately affected by the virus.)

He says the recipe below is for two hungry chicken lovers, or for four people as a starter or a snack. I downsized it for one (shown in the photograph) and it worked well, not requiring any particular skill or anything beyond basic kitchen equipment.


2kg (4.4 lbs) of organic chicken wings (I like HG Walter butchers)
500g plain yogurt
Good pinch of salt
30g of jerk spice 
1 pineapple 
100ml (3.4oz) dark rum 
1 bunch of mint 
200g dry-roasted peanuts


1. Combine salt, jerk spice and yogurt together and mix with the chicken wings to marinate, ideally overnight.

2. Set your oven to 220 degrees Celsius (428 Fahrenheit) and place the wings on the baking tray, making sure you knock of the excess yogurt. Roast for 25 minutes until crispy and golden.

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

4. Lightly crush the peanuts and pick the mint leaves.

5. Get a large serving plate and pile high with chicken wings, then douse with the rum and pineapple mix. Last of all, scatter with peanuts and mint leaves, and enjoy with an ice-cold beer.

Richard Vines is the Chief Food Critic at Bloomberg. Follow him on Twitter @richardvines and Instagram @richard.vines.

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