Zarela's Pineapple-Ginger Chicken Wings with Soy-Pineapple Glaze

Serves 4 to 6


This recipe is from my new memoir, Where I Come From: Life Lessons From a Latino Chef, available now.

This is one of the first things I remember my mom cooking. She worked at night, so she always made a dish that could easily be reheated for us in her absence. I remember having all my friends from elementary school come over to the house, and she’d have these chicken wings ready, always enough for all of us. The flavors were unique—that little bit of sweetness from the pine- apple and spice from the ginger, balanced by a salty element from the soy. I didn’t appreciate it at that time, but as I got older I realized how sophisticated and cool this recipe was. It’s kind of a riff on Hawaiian huli-huli chicken, but instead of orange, we use pineapple. When you cook this recipe at home, it helps cleanup immensely if you line the baking sheet with foil, as it can become extremely sticky and tough to scrub!

INGREDIENTS

  • ½ cup (120 ml) pineapple juice

  • ¼ cup (60 ml) orange juice

  • ¼ cup (60 ml) lime juice

  • ¼ cup (60 ml) soy sauce

  • ¼ cup (50 ml) grapeseed or vegetable oil

  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt

  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander

  • ½ cup (20 g) chopped fresh cilantro, plus more for serving

  • 4 cloves garlic

  • 1 serrano pepper

  • 2-inch (5 cm) piece peeled fresh ginger

  • Ground black pepper

  • 4 pounds (1.8 kg) chicken wings (24 wings), tips discarded

  • 3 green onions, thinly sliced on a bias

  • 2 tablespoons (20 g) white sesame seeds, toasted

DIRECTIONS

  1. Preheat the oven to 225°F (110°C). Set an oven-safe wire rack on top of a baking sheet, or line the sheet with cooking parchment.

  2. In a large bowl, whisk together the juices, soy sauce, oil, salt, and coriander until thoroughly incorporated. Fold in the ½ cup (20 g) of cilantro and, with a Microplane, grate in the garlic, serrano, and ginger. Season with pepper.

  3. In a small saucepan, reserve half the sauce. Toss the wings in the remaining sauce to coat and marinate for 15 to 20 minutes (any longer and the pineapple will start to “cook” the meat).

  4. Arrange the wings in a single layer on the rack or parchment, cover with foil, and bake for 30 minutes. Meanwhile, set the saucepan with the reserved sauce over medium-low heat and cook, stirring occasion- ally, until it’s reduced by about half.

  5. Remove the foil and adjust the heat to 425°F (220°C). With a brush or spoon, glaze the wings with the reduced sauce, then bake for another 20 to 25 minutes, until an instant thermometer registers 155 to 160°F (69 to 71°C). Glaze the wings once more as soon as they’re out of the oven.

  6. Sprinkle the green onions, sesame seeds, and remaining cilantro over the chicken. Serve warm.


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