Sublime Jerk Chicken

Jerk chicken.  Or pork.  Or beef.  Meat in general, really.  Can’t think of an animal that can’t be served jerked.  Octopus, maybe…  have to give that a try.

Anyway.  Good jerk recipes all start off broadly the same but evolve over time depending on needs, what’s in the cupboard, cutting down the heat for the kids…  I started out slavishly following the recipe in Hugh F-W’s fantastic book, “MEAT”, but it’s evolved since then…

For the jerk, you’ll need:

  • 1tbsp salt
  • 1tbsp black pepper – interesting stuff, pepper.  I discovered Peppermonger’s speciality peppers in our local wholefood shop so this recipe had their Javanese Cubeb “Comet Tail” peppers in it.  Superb and very different to COTS black pepper.
  • 1tbsp allspice, ground
  • 1tsp mace
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 1 white onion
  • 1tsp dried basil
  • 1tsp dried oregano
  • 4 bay leaves
  • 1tbsp brown sugar
  • 3tbsp olive oil
  • Juice of 3 limes
  • Handful fresh coriander leaves

But you go with what you’ve got in the cupboard.  Hugh’s recipe calls for thyme, not basil or oregano but I find that these 2 give it a lovely fresh summery zing, bolstered by the coriander and that little extra hit of lime.

Recipes will call for things to be “finely chopped”.  Let me let you in on a secret here.  You’re going to be mixing everything together in the Magimix which is, basically, a pair of knives spinning at ridiculous speeds, speeds fast enough to powder a cinnamon stick.  So don’t chop your onion, cut it into quarters at best.  Don’t tear up the bay leaves, just drop them in whole!  Blitz the whole thing until it’s smooth.

The eagle-eyed amongst you will notice there’s no chilli in this marinade.  That makes the whole thing very, very kid-friendly.  If you’re after heat, put in as many Scotch Bonnet peppers as your heart craves.  I’d normally chuck in 2.

Joint your chicken, cube up your pork or lamb, basically prep the meat so it can go from the marinade into the oven.  Apply marinade to meat and leave it in the fridge overnight.  Given I normally make this in the evening to cook the next afternoon, you’re looking to get between 12 and 18 hours marinading at least.

Oven to 180C, cook the meat covered for 1 hour then uncovered for as much of another hour as you can bear to wait.

Serve with Festival, Rice & Beans, green leafy salads, wraps, Langos, anything you can lay your hands on.

Unfortunately, I’ve no pictures for this one…  I’ll update that next time I’m cooking it!

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