The Spice Rack

"There is no love sincerer than the love of food." Join me as I explore this love with reckless abandon. Each week try a new recipe from a different region. Read a little about each recipes' history and a lot about what it took to get it from the pages of the cookbook to the dinner table.

Thursday, March 09, 2006

Jerk Chicken

I first tried this recipe last summer. It got rave reviews from my father who likes any kind of spicy foods, but my mom liked the flavor as well. This spicy Caribbean barbeque is traditionally cooked over an open flame in a wooden barbeque pit. The wood is supposed to enhance the flavor. But, since most of us don’t wooden barbeque pits in our backyards most variations of this recipe call for grilling it, which works just fine if you ask me. I found this recipe in a Martha Steward Living magazine this summer and have used it so much since that the recipe torn from the magazine is stained with the marinade. (My mom likes to tell my I’m a sloppy cook, I say a little mess is a sign of creativity in the kitchen.) You can adjust the peppers in this recipe to your taste. Habanero chili peppers are very hot, so use them sparingly if you don’t want your mouth to be on fire.

Here’s what you’ll need:

3 fresh habanero chilies, seeded and chopped
1 small yellow onion, chopped
8 scallions, chopped
4 cloves of garlic, crushed with the edge of a knife or pressed in a garlic press
3 tablespoons finely chopped fresh thyme
¼ cup packed brown sugar
2 tablespoons ground allspice
1 tablespoon salt
1 ¼ teaspoons ground nutmeg
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
½ cup distilled white vinegar
¼ cup soy sauce
¼ cup fresh lime juice
¼ cup vegetable oil
freshly ground pepper
16 chicken drumsticks and thighs

To make the marinade process the habanero chilies, onion, scallion, garlic and thyme in a food processor.

Add the brown sugar, allspice. salt, nutmeg, cinnamon, vinegar, soy sauce, lime juice and oil. Process in the food processor until you have a smooth sauce.

Divide the sauce in half, one half for brushing the chicken while you are grilling it, the other to marinate it in.

Add chicken and half of the marinade in a large bowl. Rub the marinade into the chicken making sure it covers all parts.

Cover the bowl with plastic and refrigerate it over night.

The next day, heat your grill to low and brush lightly with oil. Put chicken on grill and discard used oil. Grill the chicken occasionally brushing with the saved marinade. Continue to cook and brush chicken with the marinade until cooked through

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