As the weather starts to warm up I’ve got grilling on the mind. I discovered jerk chicken while in Jamaica and it is delicious. When I got home I wanted to try my hand at making it myself so I turned to the internet and found hundreds of different recipes, after pouring over them I took the basic idea and made my own jerk sauce. I love it, its a little sweet, citrusy and spicy. I am the biggest wimp when it comes to heat so I carefully remove the seeds to control the heat. NOTE: Please wear kitchen gloves when working with very hot peppers. I used both chicken breast and thigh meat and instead of grilling on the bone I cut the chicken into chunks and skewered it. The chicken is marinaded in the jerk sauce then brushed with more while its grilling. I like to serve with Caribbean Rice and peas, I totally love this dish. The rice is cooked in coconut milk with whole peppers cooked in with the rice. You can use scotch bonnet if you like and are a lover of heat, I chose to use jalapeno peppers. This is traditionally cooked with pigeon peas, I used cow peas but you can use whatever bean or pea you like.
Serves 4-6 depending on serving size
1 scotch bonnet pepper chopped (for less intense heat remove seeds)
2 jalapeno peppers chopped
1 tbs fresh thyme
4 cloves garlic
2 tsp jamaican allspice (whole)
3 tbs packed brown sugar
2 tsp kosher salt
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp ground black pepper
1 tsp powdered ginger
1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup soy sauce
zest of one lime
1/4 cup lime juice
1/4 cup orange juice
1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
2 lbs chicken breast and thigh meat cut into chunks
Chop your peppers (remove seeds if desired) In mortar smash the jamaican allspice. Add everything to blender and blend until everything is incorporated. To a large ziplock bag add the chicken and enough of the jerk sauce to completely cover the chicken. Smash it around in the bag so that the sauce covers every piece of chicken, Refrigerate at least 4 hours, overnight is even better.
To grill the chicken you will need enough skewers, if using bamboo make sure to soak in water for a few hours before using them. Skewer your marinaded chicken and grill, basting with the remaining jerk sauce while they are grilling. You can grill either outdoors on the BBQ or pan grill (I highly recommend outdoor grilling for these. Serve with Caribbean Rice and Peas and enjoy!
Caribbean Rice and Peas
1 cup dried pigeon peas, cow peas or whatever bean you like, soaked overnight
2 cups water
1/2 medium onion chopped
2 cups long grain white rice
2 cups unsweetened coconut milk
1 cup water or unsweetened coconut water I use Zico
1 cup reserved water from cooked beans
2 whole jalepeno peppers
salt and pepper to taste
After beans have soaked over night, drain and pour them into a med saucepan add 2 cups of water and cook until beans are tender.Season the beans with salt and pepper. Set them aside along with 1 cup of the water that the beans cooked in, you will need that to cook the rice.
To a large saucepan add a small amount of olive oil just enough to coat the bottom of the pan when pan is hot put the chopped onion in and saute until onion is soft and translucent, add rice and cooked beans you judge how much of the beans to add to the rice you don’t want too many beans, stir until rice and onion and beans are combined. Add all the liquid, some salt and pepper to taste and the peppers. Bring to a boil on high flame, cover and reduce heat to med/low and let rice cook until all the liquid is absorbed and rice is done it will take 15-20 minutes. Turn off the heat, fluff rice with fork and serve, you can garnish with fresh thyme or cilantro.