As a child, my parents exposed me to a variety of cultures through food. One country my parents always enjoyed traveling to, probably more than any other location, is Jamaica. I visited several times as a child and I have always enjoyed Jamaican food. I had a pasture-raised chicken I picked up from a farm in Central Florida, and I wanted to do something awesome with it, so Jerk Chicken it is! I adapted this Grilled Jerk Chicken recipe from Bobby Flay to incorporate healthier ingredients we use in our home.
I began with a whole chicken, so I followed these steps to butcher the chicken. If you want to create a dipping sauce to go with the chicken, prepare the marinade as directed, but reserve half a cup (do not add to the chicken). Combine the reserved marinade with a ripe avocado and serve with the chicken.
- 1/2 cup coconut oil
- 1/2 onion, coarsely chopped
- 1 jalapeno, stem and seeds removed
- 1 tablespoon fresh ginger, grated
- 3 cloves garlic, coarsely chopped
- 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh thyme
- 2 tablespoons raw apple cider vinegar
- 1 tablespoon light brown sugar
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg
- Pinch ground cloves
- 1 teaspoon ground allspice
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- juice of 1 lime
- Whole chicken, preferably pasture-raised
- Place all ingredients (except for the chicken) in a blender to puree to create your marinade. If the mixture is too thick, add a few tablespoons of water.
- Butcher your chicken into separate pieces. Pour the marinade over your chicken. Allow chicken to marinate 6 – 24 hours covered, in the refrigerator.
- When you are ready to cook the chicken, preheat oven to 375 degrees. Place chicken on a hot stove top grill pan. Cook chicken on one side until you have nice grill marks, then flip over.
- When chicken is browned on the outside, transfer to a baking sheet and place in the oven until you reach an internal temperature of 165 degrees.
I served the Jerk Chicken alongside Rice & Peas, using jasmine rice and white kidney beans. I also made Rum Butter Plantains. To do so, combine the following ingredients in a sauce pan on low until a syrup forms:
- 2 T butter
- 1 T brown sugar
- 1/4 cup dark rum
- 1/4 t cinnamon
Slice 3 – 4 ripe plantains. Saute in the syrup, on both sides, until you have reached a nice brown. Serve alongside the Jerk Chicken and Rice & Peas for a delicious Jamaican dinner.