Must-Try: Jerk Chicken

I’ve loved the flavor of jerk seasoning for a long time. I can remember trying it at a beachside restaurant in Florida when I was in high school.

It’s hot, somewhat sweet, and loaded with spices.

The two signature flavors are Scotch Bonnet Peppers and allspice (a peppercorn-looking thing with hints of cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves).

The peppers are hard to find.

They’re related to habaneros and look just like them, so that’s what I used.

I spent hours reading recipes online and finally chose this one. It’s from a website called Jamaica Travel and Culture.

There’s a long list of ingredients, but I love each of them, and had many of them already.

Watch the video on the website. I adored the woman who leads you through the recipe.

I threw all the ingredients into a blender. It’s that simple.

You get a lot of marinade.

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I used about half of it to cover 2 bone-in chicken breasts and 5 chicken legs in a casserole dish. Cover it with plastic wrap and let it sit in the fridge. I prepared it all before work and let it marinate while I was gone, about 10 hours.

Put the rest of the marinade in a dish and save it for brushing during cooking/dipping while eating.

I roasted the marinated chicken on a wire rack set over a foil-lined baking sheet at 425 for about 55 minutes. When there were just 20 minutes left, I brushed each piece with some of the reserved marinade (I portioned it out into a small dish to avoid any risk of cross-contamination).

I have to warn you. This sauce is spicy! I can handle some heat, but this really made me sweat.

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The sauce is somewhat fruity. The allspice, cinnamon, and nutmeg add a bit of comfort and warmth.

I served it with pineapple rice and some milk to ease the raging fire that tormented my tongue.

When I do this again I’ll probably use 3 or 4 peppers and an extra tablespoon of allspice just to really drive home that signature flavor.

It makes for good leftovers, too. I took two legs for lunch!

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If you like heat, you’ll find that this recipe is pretty cool!

Tip: Wear rubber gloves or cover your hands with resealable bags when dealing with the peppers and while massaging the marinade into the chicken. The oils from the peppers will severely burn your eyes, lips, and nostrils, so be careful!

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