Jerk Chicken is a marinaded chicken dish found in the Caribbean, most popular in Jamaica and nearby Cayman Islands. Originally from West Africa the dish travelled with slavery a couple of hundred years ago and settled in the Caribbean ever since. Frequently sold at roadside stands, this street food I’ve enjoyed many times open from late afternoon til late.. The Jerk seasoning usually includes thyme, allspice, nutmeg, cloves, cinnamon, lime juice and the mighty scotch bonnet peppers. Jerk pork is probably more popular than Jerk chicken but the recipe is the same for both. If using Pork, I recommend pork tenderloin and only cooking for 20 minutes all in, leaving the meat to rest for best results.
So, since I’m a casual cook, i.e. don’t really follow recipes, but like to tweak them, here goes:
Ting’s you will need:
- Chicken – on or off the bone, whichever you prefer.
- Jerk seasoning.
- Long grain rice
- a Mango sliced.
- a splash of Rum
- sprinkle of sugar
- a splash of oil
- a chopped onion
- Sweet Potato/ Butternut squash
- Callaloo (tin)
- a tin of coconut milk
- Mung beans or Gungo peas (I use tinned)
- a splash of Reggae Reggae Sauce
- a Lime
My favourite ready-made Jerk is Dunn’s River Jamaican Jerk Seasoning for its authentic taste.
Longest jobs are first;
Marinade the meat in the fridge for at least two days. Then grill until cooked and leave time to rest, squeeze lime over the chicken before serving.
Mango – Slice and marinade in Rum, don’t waste on the good stuff, spiced Rum is good enough. Sprinkle with sugar & grill.
Sweet Potato/Butternut squash – Peel and slice, season, drizzle with oil and grill/roast in oven for 15/20 minutes.
Rice’n’Peas – Use long grain rice in salted boiling water and cook til just about ready. In another pan, lightly fry the chopped onion, when reduced add the sieved rice. Next add the sieved beans/peas, coconut milk and a good splash of Reggae Reggae Sauce. This just needs 5/10 minutes on a low heat and is ready to serve.
Callaloo (like Jamaican spinach)- I use a tinned version, since its hard to get fresh where I live. Heat and serve.
Now that wasn’t too bad, was it?
This is a very easy way to make a Caribbean classic. Let the marinade do the work.
As far as drink matches, many will go for a Rum punch or beer to quench them from the heat of the marinade. However, although spicy with many rich & sweet flavours, there are wines out there that can tame this kind of dish. I would choose a white over red, an aromatic but tropical fruit forward wine with good acidity.
I would recommend an Argentinian Torrontés white grape variety and with the young vibrant Viñalba Selección Torrontés 2011 Lujan de Cuyo (just under £10 Majestic Wines) it just about carries off all those big flavours.
Enjoy! and feel free to comment below: