In a prior post, I promised to provide the recipe for my Jamaican jerk chicken.
First I must declare that I cook by taste, so all recipes are approximate. Also the original recipe called for fresh ingredients mixed into a paste, I have substituted dry to make it easier for you, though I use fresh whenever possible.
Feel free to experiment and find the perfect “flavorful” for you.
Jerk Seasoning Mix
2 Tbsp dried minced onion
2 Tbsp dried minced garlic (or 1 Tbsp powder)
2 1/2 teas dried thyme
2 teas ground allspice
2 teas ground black pepper
1/2 teas ground cinnamon
1/2 teas cayenne pepper
1/2 teas salt
Mix together and store in an airtight glass bottle until time to use.
To prepare jerk chicken: Wash and dry chicken thighs (the whole chicken may be used but dark meat is more compatible with the spice mix.) Rub with a little olive oil and spice mix (it is flavorful, not spicy hot, so feel free to be generous.)
Saute an onion (sliced in thin slivers) in a little oil (I prefer olive). When it starts to turn translucent, stir in several large cloves of garlic (chopped or crushed). Cook and stir for a minute or so (be careful garlic does not burn). Add chicken, sear on first side and turn. Add a teaspoon or so (a little goes a long way) of umboeshi plum vinegar* (available in the oriental section) and brown. Add a little water to create a sauce, cover and let cook until chicken is tender, adding water to keep sauce from burning. (Taste and add more jerk seasoning if you like.)
When chicken is fork tender, remove cover and let sauce thicken to consistency of a glaze.
For large groups, you can bake in 350 degree oven for an hour or so. Add additional liquid to keep chicken from drying out.
*Umboeshi plum vinegar is actually the brine left over from pickling umboeshi plums (a small, tart oriental fruit.) To substitute, you need something tart (I used tamarinds, soaked them and made a paste) and something a little sweet to balance the tart (I used prunes and cranberry juice for more liquid.) Salt to taste.
Serve your jerk chicken with:
Tropical Rice: Cook rice per instructions; if using canned pineapple, substitute juice for part of cooking liquid. Add 1 onion (I like red onions for color) and a clove or two of garlic (chopped) to the rice while cooking. When rice is almost done, add pineapple tidbits, green pepper (chopped) and 2 cups cooked black beans (add a few Tbsp bean liquid, if desired, for more protein.)
Fried plantains make a nice side or desert. Just slice and fry on medium heat until browned on both sides. Plantains will suck up oil: use just enough to keep from sticking; if using a non-stick surface this could mean just wiping the pan with a little oil.