Just over a year ago, Brad and I returned from our honeymoon in Negril, Jamaica. We had the time of our lives, and spent eight days swimming, lounging on the beach, snorkeling, kayaking, drinking, and of course, eating amazing food. We stayed at an all-inclusive, which are not particularly known for great food, but we were pleasantly surprised by the five different restaurants. The food was abundant, and everything we tried was spectacular.
One of our favorite Jamaican delicacies that we tried was the famous jerk chicken. When we first arrived at our resort, we threw our bags in our room then set out to explore the vast property. After taking a few minutes to soak in the gorgeous beach, we were off to find some food. After a long morning of traveling, we were starving! We stumbled upon a beachside cafe that served burgers, snacks, and of course – jerk chicken.
My first taste of jerk chicken
Since then, I have been in love with jerk chicken, and have been looking for a recipe so I can make it back here in the states. (Since unfortunately, I don’t take extravagant tropical vacations all that often.) It took me a year, but I found a recipe that is very close to the chicken we had in Jamaica. It definitely has a kick to it, so make sure to have a nice cold beer nearby. If you’re not a huge fan of spice, use habanero peppers instead of scotch bonnets.
Yields: 4-6 servings
1/2 cup malt vinegar (or white vinegar)
2 Tbsp dark rum
2 Scotch bonnet peppers (or habaneros), with seeds, chopped
1 red onion, chopped
4 green onion tops, chopped
1 Tbsp dried thyme or 2 Tbsp fresh thyme leaves, chopped
2 Tbsp olive oil
2 teaspoons salt
2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
4 teaspoons ground allspice
4 teaspoons ground cinnamon
4 teaspoons ground nutmeg
4 teaspoons ground ginger
2 teaspoons molasses
1 (5 or 6 pound) roasting chicken, cut in half, lengthwise (or cuts of chicken of your choice)
1/2 cup lime juice
Place the vinegar, rum, hot peppers, onion, green onion tops, thyme, olive oil, salt, pepper, allspice, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, and molasses into a blender. Blend until smooth.
Transfer the chicken to a large freezer bag or air-tight container, then pour the lime juice over the chicken and coat well. Take the jerk paste and rub it over the chicken. (Be sure to wear gloves or use a rubber spatula, the peppers can burn your skin!) Refrigerate overnight.
Grill method: Preheat your grill to medium high. Place the chicken halves, skin side down on the grill. Cover and cook for one hour, turning the chickens occasionally until the chicken is cooked through. The chicken is done when the juices run clear (not pink) when a knife tip is inserted into both the chicken breast and thigh, about 165-170°F for the breast and 180-185°F for the thigh. Transfer chicken to platter. Cover loosely with foil and let stand for 10 minutes before serving.
Oven method: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees . Place the chicken in a rimmed baking dish and roast for 50-60 minutes until the chicken is done, and the juices run clear.
Source: Simply Recipes