Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Jerk Chicken

Jerk Chicken is well associated with its Caribbean roots and Jamaica. Upon researching this recipe, I found the ingredients for the seasoning of this spicy poultry dish varies quite a bit. However, there are some key ingredients that seem to remain consistent: habanero peppers, garlic, thyme, cinnamon and allspice. From there the addition or omission of ingredients do vary.

For this recipe, I used the key ingredients above and added ingredients from my research that I personally like: ginger, scallions, nutmeg, ground clove and fresh marjoram.  After creating the jerk seasoning and marinating the chicken, the cooking process is quite simple. Brown the chicken in a pan then bake it to perfection in the oven. 

Tip: If you prefer your meat less spicy hot, try reducing the number habanero peppers used or use peppers with less heat such as Serrano or JalapeƱo peppers.

Servings: 4-6
Prep Time: 70 minutes (includes 1 hour marination)
Cooking Time: 40 minutes

3 Habanero Peppers chopped
5 Garlic Cloves  chopped
1/2 inch Ginger chopped
2 Tablespoon Fresh Majoram chopped
2 Tablespoon Fresh Thyme chopped
2 Green Onions chopped
2 Teaspoons Ground Nutmeg
2 Teaspoons Ground Cinnamon
2 Teaspoons Ground Cloves
2 Teaspoons Allspice
4 Tablespoons Olive Oil
Salt & Freshly Ground Pepper
6-8 Chicken pieces (legs and thighs)

In a large bowl combine the habanero peppers, garlic, ginger, marjoram, thyme, scallions, nutmeg, cinnamon, cloves, allspice and 2 tablespoons olive oil. Season with salt and freshly ground pepper and mix the ingredients using your hands to create a paste.   Score the legs and thighs to allow the marinade to penetrate the meat.  Add the chicken pieces to the jerk marinade and toss the ingredients until the chicken thighs and legs are well coated.  Refrigerate to marinate for an hour (or up to 24 hours). 

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. 

In a deep oven safe skillet that comes with a lid, heat the remaining olive oil on the stove top.  Add the chicken coated with jerk seasoning to the pan and brown the meat on all sides (about 12-15 minutes). Cover the skillet and place into the oven to cook for 25 minutes or until the chicken is fully cooked.
Serve this spicy chicken with a side of rice, greens or fried plantains.  It also taste great on its own. 


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