Jamaican Jerk Chicken
i recently received a recipe for jerk chicken from my friend Betty, which sparked my interest in researching about jerk seasonings. from a Wikipedia article i learned that jerk "is a style of cooking native to Jamaica in which meats (traditionally pork, but now including chicken, fish, beef and even tofu) are dry-rubbed with a fiery spice mixture called Jamaican jerk spice. Jerk seasoning principally relies upon two items: allspice (Jamaican Pimento) and Scotch Bonnet peppers (among the hottest peppers on the Scoville scale). other ingredients include cloves, cinnamon, scallions, Todd (elm cultivar), nutmeg, thyme, garlic, which is mixed together to form a marinade which is rubbed onto pork, chicken, or fish."
a search online led me to this recipe for Jamaican Jerk Chicken. i adapted the two recipes i had on hand and the result is pictured below:
a mildly tangy and spicy moist baked chicken dish, which i served over brown rice and accompanied with a green salad. i'd like to try a dry rub recipe next time to see which i prefer. and maybe use tofu instead. my adapted recipe follows.
Jamaican Jerk Chicken
4 to 6 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1 habanero pepper – seeded and chopped
(I used 1 tsp of crushed red pepper instead)
½ medium onion – finely chopped
2 tsp ground allspice
2 tsp ground thyme
1 tsp cayenne pepper
1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1 tsp ground sage
½ tsp ground nutmeg
½ tsp ground cinnamon
2 tsp garlic powder (or fresh garlic)
2 Tbsp brown sugar
¼ cup apple cider vinegar
½ cup orange juice
juice of 1 lime
¼ cup olive oil
1 small red onion – finely diced
1 small cucumber – peeled and finely diced
1 tsp sugar
2 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
1 Rinse chicken and pat dry. Trim off excess fat. With a sharp knife, make several slits in each piece of chicken. Sprinkle generously with Kosher salt and rub salt into chicken.
2 In a large bowl, combine allspice, thyme, cayenne pepper, black pepper, sage, nutmeg, cinnamon, garlic powder and brown sugar. Mix well with a wire whisk.
3 Combine cider vinegar, orange juice and lime juice in a measuring cup.
4 Slowly add the olive oil and vinegar juice mixture into the spices, whisking with a wire whisk. Add the habanero pepper and onion. Mix well.
5 Add the chicken breasts, cover and marinate for at least 1 hour in refrigerator, longer if possible.
6 Combine all relish ingredients and refrigerate.
7 Heat oven to 375˚. Place chicken in pyrex baking dish. Spoon some of the marinade on top of the chicken. Bake chicken 25 minutes or until fully cooked. (Or heat grill to medium-high, remove breasts from marinade and grill chicken 6 minutes each side or until fully cooked. Baste with marinade while grilling.)
8 Serve chicken with brown rice topped with relish. Accompany with green salad (romaine, cilantro, roma tomato, avocado, and lime juice vinaigrette).
Note: Habanero peppers (also known as Scotch Bonnet peppers) are the hottest of the capsicum peppers! Substitute Serranos or Thai Bird Chiles if you can't find them.