Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Get your reggae reggae on with Jamaican jerk chicken

To the rest of the world, Jamaica is probably best known for creating reggae music, track and field world champions and a legitimate religion based on smoking da weed, but its cuisine really rates a mention, too. With a penchant for stews, puddings and starchy root vegetables not unfamiliar in Anglo cultures, it borrows flavours and spices from Spanish, Indian and Chinese cuisines and, best of all, most recipes only require a BBQ or stock pot, meaning less washing up!

Image courtesy of Cosmicchile.com

This Saturday it’s Jamaican Independence Day, which means the Brixton Market down the road (a.k.a. London’s Afro-Caribbean heartland) will be going OFF. If you only eat Jamaican food once, make sure it’s Jerk chicken. It’s like the Peking duck of Chinese food, or Coq au van for Francophiles. Imagine a KFC Zinger fillet, multiply by 10,000 and you’re still nowhere near imagining how sensationally tasty it is. This recipe is adapted from Levi Roots’ version (he is the undisputed king of Caribbean cooking in these parts) and serves 8 people – or 3 people who’ve just run 15km.

8 chicken quarters with skin
1 lemon, juiced
1 quantity dry jerk seasoning (see below)
1 quantity juicy jerk marinade (see below)
Chilli barbecue sauce, to serve

Dry jerk seasoning
1 tsp all-purpose seasoning (I'm gonna admit I have never used this - it's the spice equivalent of Gravox, and is probs packed with MSG - but if Levi says to use it, we'll just go with it, OK?)
1 tsp ground allspice
1 tsp mixed dried savory, marjoram, oregano, thyme, rosemary, basil and tarragon (or just chuck in a bit of every dried green herb in your cupboard)
1 tsp salt
1 tsp ground black pepper

Juicy jerk marinade
4 Scotch bonnet/hot red chillies, deseeded and chopped
1 spring onion, green end only, chopped
1 onion chopped
2 tbsp ground allspice
2.5cm/1 inch piece fresh root ginger, peeled and grated
2 garlic cloves, crushed
3 tbsp mixed dried herbs
1 tbsp dried basil
3 tbsp all-purpose seasoning
1 tsp fresh ground nutmeg
1 tsp fresh ground cinnamon
2 tbsp fresh coriander leaves
1 tsp salt
2 tbsp coarse ground black pepper
500ml bottle tomato sauce

1. Rinse the chicken under cold running water, then sprinkle over the lemon juice, drain and pat dry with kitchen paper.
2. Put the chicken in a non-metallic dish. Rub in the dry seasoning, then pour on the juicy jerk marinade and coat the chicken. Refrigerate overnight if you can.
3. Fire up the BBQ. Lay the chicken pieces on the barbecue, cover and cook for 10 minutes on each side or until the juices run clear when you push a knife into the centre.
4. When the chicken’s thoroughly cooked, transfer to a chopping board and chop each piece into about 4 portions with the bones. If you're going Brixton stylee, serve with salad (a.k. shredded iceberg lettuce, tomato and cucumber) and hot chips. Otherwise serve with your regular classy array of BBQ salads.

1 comment:

  1. Oowh! That'll burn the buds. A far cry from a Zinger fillet and well worth the effort to make.