March 10, 2006

Palle's Jerk Chicken

Finally, at long last for those who commented and emailed:
The following post is Palle's - I'm merely the conduit. My own notes are at the end.

Jamaican Jerk Chicken

Makes 4 Servings

½ cup white vinegar
zest and juice from 4 limes
¼ cup canola oil
5 scallions, trimmed and coarsely chopped
4 cloves garlic, coarsely chopped
2 inch piece of ginger, coarsely chopped
4 fresh habanero (scotch bonnet) chilis, coarsely chopped and seeds removed *
2 tablespoons ground allspice
2 tablespoons ground dried thyme
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
1 tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
3 pounds chicken, cut into 8 pieces
  1. Combine the vinegar, lime juice, lime zest, canola oil, scallions, garlic, ginger, chilis, allspice, thyme, cinnamon, sugar, pepper, salt and cayenne. Using a blender, or food processor, blend into a medium puree (not too smooth – this is isn’t French cuisine). I find I get better results if I keep dry and wet ingredients apart until just before it is time to blend. It will seem like a lot of allspice and thyme, but for Jerk it is correct.
  2. Place chicken in a medium bowl or other container.
  3. Pour marinade over chicken. Turn pieces well to ensure even coating and all pieces are covered.
  4. Cover and refrigerate for at least 1 hour. Fours hours to overnight is preferable. Turn occasionally.
  5. Heat the oven to 350 F°.
  6. Place the chicken covered by marinade in a pyrex baking dish. Cook for 45 minutes.
  7. Eat.**

* A note on habaneros. If you can’t get fresh habaneros you may be out of luck. Other chilis do not make an acceptable substitute. You may make a yummy sauce, but it won’t be Jerk. Habaneros have a singular, irreproducible flavor. You may be able to get away with dried – but I’ve never tried. For a milder jerk use 3 habaneros, with pith and seeds removed. For a medium jerk use three or four peppers with about half of the pith removed, and all seeds removed. For hotter jerk leave in all the pith and leave in a few seeds.

** Resist the urge to add cilantro. Jerk goes well with rice, rice and beans, sweet potatoes or coleslaw.

Dawna's notes:

While the recipe calls for the more traditional bone-in chicken, we usually make it boneless - thighs and halved breasts - and reduce the cooking time to 35 minutes.

I have yet to be involved in the process of making this dish. My job here is strictly sides (and occasionally inventory). I am currently strongly hinting that this would be excellent with pork tenderloin, and I think that might be the next version.


Michele said...

I love Jerk Chicken but we do sort of a "fake" Jerk because hubby can't tollerate the chilis. It's still yummy though :)

linda said...

Thank you Palle and Dawna! Oh, and jerk pork tenderloin is VERY good. I'll send feedback when I get a chance to try this.

Dawna said...

Michele, I know what it's like to cook around allergies and the like - fortunately, there are a lot of great Jamaican recipes that don't need to be hot. Jerk is a funny one, though, where the flavour of the chiles is so critical... although, as Palle says, it might not be "jerk" but it's probably a very tasty sauce nonetheless.

Linda, a great place to get good, inexpensive habaneros is South China Seas Trading Co in Granville Island Market. Urban Fare often has them too. I'd love to know how it works out for you!

Typical INgredients said...

Hi Dawna,

Sounds like I'm going to try your recipe. I am into hot and spicy food and it sounds really good too!

Keep you posted if I did!