Israeli-Style Jerk Chicken
Way back when I was in high school, my mother and father used to take vacations in the US Virgin Islands. Every year they chose a different Island and spent a week snorkeling, hiking, exploring, and resting on the warm sand in tropical beaches. According to my mother, the smell of jerk ( a collection of Caribbean spices) pervaded these islands so in an attempt to recapture some of the spirit of these vacations my mother started using Jerk. A lot.
She bought the book Jerk from Jamaica and from then on always has had a container of homemade jerk spice on hand, which is used most often during barbecues but makes it's way into chicken and coleslaws as well.
Thus, jerk spice is a fixture of my childhood and I love the taste and using it in cooking. This chicken recipe from Joy of Kosher Magazine takes jerk to the next level. Instead of using dry jerk seasoning (which, like my mother, I always have on hand) it uses very fresh ingredients pureed into a marinade to make a chicken dish that is truly awesome.
4 lb boneless baby chicken or chicken cutlets
1 small onion, chopped
1 bunch of scallions, chopped
6 cloves garlic
2 scotch bonnet or habanero peppers
1 2-inch piece of ginger, chopped
1/4 cup fresh thyme
1/2 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup cider vinegar
1 cup canned unsweetened coconut milk
2 tsp salt
3 tsps brown sugar
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp ground allspice
1 tsp ground nutmeg
Place all ingredients (besides for the chicken) in a food processor or blender and process until smooth. Place chicken in a ziplock bag and pour marinade over it, making sure the marinade is well-distributed on the chicken. Refrigerate overnight.
Fire up your charcoal grill or heat a gas grill to medium-high. Place chicken on grill over direct heat and cook until nice and brown, about 3-4 minutes on each side.
Serve and enjoy!
- I only used 1 1/2 lbs of chicken so I halved the recipe.
- Charming and I have this thing where whenever a recipe calls for something spicy (like scotch bonnet or habanero peppers) and I use the recommended amount, it usually winds up too spicy for us. In the interest of preserving our taste buds, I chose to use jalapeno peppers instead because they are less spicy than their close relatives, scotch bonnet and habanero.
- PC+Vinegar= No go. I've mentioned this multiple times. Instead of using cider vinegar I used white wine.
- I forgot that the chicken needed to marinate overnight so I started making it after putting the princess to bed. To make sure that the marinade really got into the chicken I scored lines into the cutlets so that the marinade could penetrate.
- I made this on the stovetop in a well-greased frying pan because, sadly, I do not have a grill.
This was really good. The flavor was subtle but flavorful. And the best news was that Charming who isn't actually a fan of coconut didn't even notice that coconut was in the recipe. Score!!
The fact that the flavor was very subtle might have had to do with the minimal marinating time, so the next time I make this (and there will be a next time) I'm going to have to marinade it overnight and see what happens.