Some time this week I’ll have to spend an afternoon cleaning up the garden. Or what’s left of it. Growing chile peppers in Kentucky is always a battle against time. It seems like I’m either waiting impatiently for the spring threat of frost to pass (normally not until the week after the Kentucky Derby) or hoping desperately for a last bunch of peppers to ripen before the first frost of the fall sets in (usually shortly after Halloween–this year it came early). Usually it’s the habaneros that give me fits. As a late blooming plant they are just starting to really flourish when the temperature begins to drop. Traditionally, our last meal from the pepper patch each year features the last peppers to ripen, and it’s always the habaneros. So while the temperature outside may be dropping, the heat around the dinner table is definitely on the rise as a final batch of jerk chicken wings hits the grill. The addition of a little Haitian Rum turns regular jerk into Voodoo Jerk Chicken, appropriate for the post-Halloween, Day of the Dead or All Soul’s Day feast and always a crowd pleaser around here.
Voodoo Jerk Chicken Wings
* 2-1/2 to 3 pounds chicken wings
* 1 onion, chopped
* 2 to 3 habanero peppers, chopped
* 4 cloves of garlic, chopped
* 3 tablespoons Haitian Rum Barbancourt
* 3 tablespoons fresh ginger, grated
* 3 tablespoons soy sauce
* 3 tablespoons brown sugar
* 2 tablespoons lime juice, plus lime wedges for garnish
* 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce.
* 2 tablespoons canola oil
* 1 teaspoon ground allspice
* 1 teaspoon thyme
* cilantro, chopped for garnish
Clean the chicken and place in a re-sealable container or plastic bag. Using a food processor, pulse the remaining ingredients together until they are well combined. Pour the marinade over the chicken, seal and refrigerate for at least 3 and up to 24 hours (the longer the chicken marinates the hotter the final product). Grill over medium high heat until done (20-25 minutes). Arrange chicken wings on a platter, garnish with the lime wedges and sprinkle with the chopped cilantro.
Yield: 6 servings
Heat Scale: Hot
–Neil Travis Honaker