Eight Bells

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Sunday, July 17, 2011

Jerk Chicken

Jerk chicken is about as Jamaican as it gets, hot from the chilli, spicy and aromatic from the allspice, mace and cinnamon, it's the original Caribbean fast food.
There are probably as many jerk recipes as there are people who cook jerk, this is just one of the many, it is very simple to prepare and super delicious.

Jerk Chicken

1 large chicken, spatchcocked, skin on (or chicken pieces)
1 teaspoon of sea salt
1 tablespoon of freshly ground black peppercorns
1 tablespoon of allspice
1 tablespoon of mace
1 teaspoon of cinnamon
1 onion, finely chopped
2 teaspoons of dried thyme
5 bay leaves, torn into small pieces
2 scotch bonnet chillis, finely chopped (we substituted a tablespoon of chilli flakes, if you use scotch bonnets make sure you wear gloves or wash your hands thoroughly after handling them)
1 tablespoon of brown sugar
3 tablespoons of rice bran oil (or canola)
Juice of four limes
2 tablespoons of butter

Place all the ingredients except the chicken in your food processor and blend to a smooth paste.
Place your chicken in an oven pan and coat all over with the jerk marinade, cover and leave in the fridge overnight.
Preheat your oven to 180C.
Line an oven pan with tin foil and place the chicken in the pan skin side down, cover loosely with another sheet of tin foil and bake for one hour. After one hour remove the foil, turn the chicken so the skin is up, make sure there is plenty of jerk marinade on the skin side, return to the oven and bake for another hour. Serve with prawn, pawpaw and avocado curry (see recipe below), rice and grilled corn. Crack open an ice cold Red Stripe lager and enjoy.

Caribbean Prawn, Pawpaw and Avocado Curry.

This dish is a meal in itself but it also makes a great accompaniment to jerk chicken (recipe to follow). It's not a hot Indian style curry, it's fruity and fragrant, just what you would expect from Caribbean cooking, evocative of white sands, sparkling blue seas and tropical fruit. The recipe below will serve two as a main, we halved the recipe to make side dishes for two to go with the jerk chicken.

Caribbean Prawn, Pawpaw and Avocado Curry

450g of peeled prawns
1 small pawpaw (papaya), diced into 1-2cm cubes
1 avocado, diced into 1-2cm cubes
1 garlic clove, sliced
1 small onion, finely chopped
1 inch piece of ginger, peeled and finely chopped
1 hot green chilli, finely chopped
100g of raisins
250g natural yoghurt
Juice of a lime
125ml of chicken stock
2 tablespoons of vegetable oil
2 teaspoons of ground cumin
1/4 of a teaspoon of cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon of paprika
2 teaspoons of curry powder
1 teaspoon of ras el hanout (or 1/4 teaspoon of turmeric)
Salt, pepper, sugar.

Heat oil in a frying pan and cook the onion until soft and translucent. Add the chopped garlic and ginger and cook for one minute. Stir in the curry powder, cumin, cayenne pepper, paprika, ras el hanout and chopped chilli and cook for one minute.
Add the prawns and cook for two-three minutes.
Pour in the stock and add the yoghurt and stir to combine.
Place the avocado, pawpaw and raisins in a bowl, squeeze lime juce over them and add to the pan. Heat through for a minute or so and then adjust flavours to suit using salt, pepper and sugar. Be careful not to cook the curry too long once the pawpaw and avocado have been added or they will fall apart, be particularly careful with the avocado.

Orange Juice Jelly

We picked the last of the oranges from our little tree today and got 16 oranges, enough for a litre of freshly squeezed juice.

Orange Juice Jelly

1 litre of orange juice
6 leaves of gelatin
3 tablespoons of sugar
Cold water
Spray oil, canola
Jelly mould

Strain your juice and then warm the juice in a pan. Soak gelatin leaves in cold water for five minutes. Add sugar to juice and dissolve. Remove the pan from the heat, gently squeeze excess water from gelatin and add to pan, stir to dissolve. Spray jeely mould lightly with oil and then pour the liquid into it and refrigerate over night. Wobbly, orangey goodness.