I’ve never cooked Jamaican food before (aside from the Jamaican Christmas fruit cake), and it sure has been a long time since I’ve eaten Jamaican food. Today’s recipe is pretty simple, but you have to start prepping a day before since the meat has to marinate overnight in the refrigerator.
This recipe came from the Food & Wine magazine. To prepare for this recipe, I must have looked at close to 20 different Jamaican Jerk recipes. One thing was common amongst all those recipes (aside from the recipe I used): they all used acidic agents ie. orange juice, lemon/lime juice, vinegar, etc. This is why your typical jerk chicken as that tangy flavor in it. The recipe I used did not have any of these acids, however, I did add fresh juice from 1 lime (nothing compared to 1/4 cup of other acids). I also thought it was interesting that the recipe came from a Korean-Jamaican chef who searched far and wide traveling throughout Jamaica, sampling various jerk recipes and came up with this recipe!!
I served my jerk chicken with the Jamaican Rice & Peas (also from Food & Wine). I also made my Beet, Carrot and Apple Slaw (this has been my signature salad, I half jokingly call this my “power salad” because it’s filled with awesomeness! Basically just shred all three ingredients in a food processor. In a large bowl, mix some mayonnaise, apple vinegar, salt and pepper, mix well. Toss in the veggie/fruit shreds and blend well. Simple as that.
Jamaican Jerk Chicken : serves 8
- 1 medium onion, coarsely chopped
- 3 medium scallions, chopped
- 2 Scotch bonnet chiles, chopped
- 2 garlic cloves, chopped
- 1 tablespoon five-spice powder
- 1 tablespoon allspice berries, coarsely ground
- 1 tablespoon coarsely ground pepper
- 1 teaspoon dried thyme, crumbled
- 1 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 cup soy sauce
- 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
- Two 3 1/2- to 4-pound chickens, quartered (I used all chicken thighs instead)
- In a food processor, combine the onion, scallions, chiles, garlic, five-spice powder, allspice, pepper, thyme, nutmeg and salt; process to a coarse paste. With the machine on, add the the soy sauce and oil in a steady stream. Pour the marinade into a large, shallow dish, add the chicken and turn to coat. Cover and refrigerate overnight. Bring the chicken to room temperature before proceeding.
- Light a grill. Grill the chicken over a medium-hot fire, turning occasionally, until well browned and cooked through, 35 to 40 minutes. (Cover the grill for a smokier flavor.) Transfer the chicken to a platter and serve. (I cooked my chicken in a 375F oven for 50-60 minutes: Bake skin side down for about 20 minutes, and then skin side up for the remaining time).
- 2 tablespoons canola oil
- 1 small onion, finely chopped
- 1 1/2 tablespoons finely grated fresh ginger
- 2 cups long grain white rice, such as jasmine
- One 15-ounce can kidney beans, drained and rinsed
- 1/2 Scotch bonnet or habanero chile, seeded
- One 14-ounce can unsweetened coconut milk
- 1 1/2 cups water
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 4 scallions, thinly sliced
- In a large saucepan, heat the oil. Add the onion and ginger and cook over moderate heat, stirring, until softened, about 5 minutes. Add the rice and cook, stirring, until coated with the oil. Stir in the kidney beans and Scotch bonnet, then stir in the coconut milk and water. Season with salt and pepper and bring to a boil. Cover and cook over low heat until the rice is tender and the liquid is absorbed, 18 minutes.
- Remove the rice from the heat and let stand, covered, for 5 minutes. Fluff with a fork. Stir in the scallions and season with salt and black pepper. Discard the Scotch bonnet and serve.
My opinion: Maybe I’m prejudiced, but I just loved, absolutely loved this dish!! The chicken was so flavorful I wasn’t embarrassed to suck the bone (the spices blended so well together). The rice did not have strong coconut flavor (I love Indonesian coconut rice, and you can taste coconut milk, but sometimes it could be too overpowering) which really married well with the chicken. Needless to say my family love this dish too and wanted more!!