What a Jerk!
This chicken, that is!
Let’s face it. It’s friggin’ crappy outside (if you’re anywhere near Central Alberta anyway). We’re talking wind-gusting, down-pouring, 7°C (yeah, SEVEN. That’s only 3 or 4°C away from snow, for Pete’s sake!) kind of crappy. Some summer!
As of yesterday I had had enough and decided a feast of a tropical sort was in order.
Pretty sure it doesn’t get much more tropical than a righteous jerk chicken topped with fruit salsa and served up right with Carib-style beans and rice.
The chicken is steeped overnight in a marinade that lends a mild heat with hints of warm allspice, cinnamon and nutmeg contrasted by bright ginger and lime. After grilling to perfection, it’s topped with a tropical fruit salsa that is to die for! I’ve actually been known to make up a batch of this salsa just for scooping up with salty tortilla chips. Yum!
The beans and rice are slowly simmered in coconut milk and hit with some thyme and allspice to echo the flavours of the jerk chicken.
So whatever the weather, this meal is just the ticket when you want to transport your taste buds some place tropical.
Seriously, are those steel drums I hear?!
Caribbean Jerk-Style Chicken, adapted from Eat, Shrink & Be Merry;
Marinade (enough for 6 chicken breasts) :
- 1/3 cup chpped green onions
- 1/4 cup freshly squeezed lime juice
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 2 tbsp reduced-sodium soy sauce
- 2 tbsp liquid honey
- 1 tbsp grated gingerroot
- 2 tsp minced garlic
- 2 jalapeño peppers, seeded and minced (wear gloves! trust me!)
- 2 tsp ground allspice
- 1 tsp dried thyme
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
- 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
- Whisk together all marinade ingredients in a medium bowl. Place chicken breasts in a large, heavy duty, resealable plastic bag. Add marinade and seal bag. Turn bag several times to coat chicken with marinade. Marinate in the refrigerator overnight.
- Preheat grill to medium. Remove chicken from marinade (discard marinade) and place on a grill rack that has been coated with cooking spray or lightly brushed with oil. Grill for about 15 minutes, turning occasionally, until juices run clear.
- Serve hot chicken with Tropical Fruit Salsa (recipe following…)
Tropical Fruit Salsa, from Eat, Shrink & Be Merry
- 1 cup diced fresh pineapple
- 1 cup diced fresh mango
- 1/4 cup minced red onion
- 1/4 cup minced red bell pepper
- 1/4 cup minced green bell pepper
- 1 tbsp minced fresh cilantro
- 1 tbsp freshly squeezed lime juice
- 1 tsp granulated sugar
- 1/4 tsp salt
- Combine all salsa ingredients in a medium bowl. Cover and refrigerate until ready to use.
Carib-Beans & Rice, from Company’s Coming Choosing Sides
Makes 4 cups
- 2 bacon slices, diced
- 1/2 cup chopped onion
- 1/2 cup diced red pepper
- 1 garlic clove, minced
- 14 oz-can of red kidney beans, rinsed and drained
- 1-1/4 cup prepared chicken broth
- 1 cup canned coconut milk
- 1/2 tsp dried thyme
- 1/8 tsp ground allspice
- Pinch (to taste) of cayenne pepper
- 3/4 cup long grain white rice
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 2 tbsp chopped green onion
- Cook bacon in large saucepan on medium until crisp. Drain all but 1 tsp drippings.
- Add onion, red pepper and garlic. Cook for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, until onion is softened.
- Add next kidney beans, coconut milk, thyme, allspice, and cayenne pepper. Stir. Bring to a boil.
- Add rice and salt. Stir. Reduce heat to medium-low. Simmer, covered, for about 20 minutes, without stirring, until rice is tender and liquid is absorbed.
- Sprinkle with green onion.