September 3, 2011

Organic Rosemary Chicken Wings

chicken wings, recipe, organic, rosemary, rosemary chicken wings, baked

This recipe is a tribute to the wonderful wild organic rosemary that grows in my mother's garden in southern California.  A couple of years ago a landscaping contractor suggested to plant rosemary as a border plant along the bottom of the hilly slopes that enclose the garden.  I don't think my mother really knew then exactly what rosemary was as most Chinese from her generation don't bother too much with Western food as they are quite satisfied with the beauties of Chinese food.  

Anyways, she said yes and now organic rosemary grows in beautifully wild profuse abandon along most of her garden slopes.

So it came about that when we were visiting my mother, I noticed many busy bees buzzing in and around these border plants that sported lovely little purple flowers and asked my mother what it was.  My mother has quite the green thumb and I always ask her garden questions.  

When she replied rosemary (well actually, I think she said 'Rose...something or the other'), I gasped in excitement.  Real rosemary!  And organic!  Wow!  For a city girl like me, it's always been fresh herbs in little expensive refrigerated packets, dried herbs in little expensive bottles, or just plain day dreaming about having a bit of space in our tiny little Hong Kong apartment to grow a few herbs.

chicken wings, recipe, organic, rosemary, rosemary chicken wings, baked

chicken wings, recipe, organic, rosemary, rosemary chicken wings, baked

My mother, catching my excitement despite herself, helped me to cut and gather armfuls of the herb.  Too much, actually, but I was really excited.  Then we devised a strategy of drying the herbs by laying them out in the sun.

The only problem was that we were catching the plane back to Hong Kong in two days.  So in the time in between, I was constantly in the garden to check on the rosemary, turning them, moving them to follow the sun, etc.  Very fulfilling for certain farmer girl fantasies.

chicken wings, recipe, organic, rosemary, rosemary chicken wings, baked

Back in Hong Kong, this well traveled rosemary was used immediately in our house favorite Rosemary Chicken Wings recipe.  Oh, but the smells when baking! Finally feasting on the hot from the oven wings with its crispy skin and tender juicy meat, we marveled at the wonderful flavor and fragrant scent infused from the wild organic rosemary .  It was far better than any rosemary we had used before, fresh or dried.  Plus it was free!  Just growing by the wayside, so to speak.  

Nowadays, being spoiled, we never use just ordinary rosemary but always reach for the container labeled "Mom's Rosemary." It's almost empty though and I'm already secretly plotting how to get my next batch.

chicken wings, recipe, organic, rosemary, rosemary chicken wings, baked
Rosemary Chicken Wings Recipe
(makes 16 wings) (Prep time: 1 hr Cook time: 30 mins)



Rinse and dry chicken wings.  Place in large bowl with rosemary (crush dried rosemary with your hands and chop fresh rosemary to release fragrant oils), maple syrup, olive oil, seas salt and pepper.  Toss to mix.  The mix should be moist, if dry add a bit more olive oil.  Cover and let marinate in the fridge for an hour or overnight.

Preheat the oven to 350 F.

It's best if the wings rest on a grill of some sort so that they are not cooking in their own juices.  We use a square wire grill with short legs that fits inside the oven pan.  The point is to lift up, allow drip and keep the skin as dry as possible so that it can crisp up.

Lay the wings on the wire grill and then bake for 30 to 40 mins or until the chicken skin looks dry and tight.  Turn on the oven top grill function for 4 to 5 minutes or until the chicken skin is golden and crisp.  Take out of oven and carefully flip over all the wings.  Return to oven and use oven top grill function for another 5 to 10 mins or until the skin is golden and crisp.  Remove from oven.  Serve hot or cold, both are yummy!  It's even better the next day.

**Extra Tip: Every chinese kid loves chicken wings so this recipe is a great place for kid party finger food or for just plain rainy day afternoon munchies.  I say Chinese kids in this case because I have definitive proof (just ask any Chinese kid) but I would imagine that all kids, chinese or not, would love these chicken wings.



  1. What a fabulous dish. My 2 children adores chicken wings, so making this for them was an instant hit! Suffice to say, there weren't any left for the following day. I will have to make double the batch next time. :-)

    1. Thanks! I have the same problem, it's never enough with chicken wings! ~ellen