Sunday, December 9, 2007

Jerk Chicken

"Jerk" can be thought as "Jamaican BBQ". It's a very hot(traditionally from Scotch Bonnet peppers) and well-spiced (often thyme, nutmeg, allspice, cloves). I found the base for this recipe on Tabasco's website. I was so impressed with how well it came out that this has become a regular dish of mine.

  • 1.5lbs boneless skinless chicken breast.
  • 1/2 bottle Tabasco Habanero sauce (use A LOT less if you don't enjoy hot foods, probably a couple of teaspoons)
  • 2 tsp whole allspice (freshly ground, if using powdered, use half as much)
  • 2 tsp brown sugar
  • 1 tsp dried thyme leaves
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  1. Pierce chicken breasts repeatedly on both sides with a fork
  2. Add chicken breast to a large ziploc bag. Add all other ingredients to bag, seal, and mix well with hands being sure to rub the chicken until all breasts are completely covered.
  3. Marinate 8 hours to overnight. (I have marinaded for as little as an hour or as long as 3 days, I have found this to be the best period of time)
  4. Remove chicken from bag, discard marinade. Oil grill and grill till cooked all the way through. Serve with rice or other sides.

I chose to whip up this for a side:

Simple Mushrooms and Spinach

  • large handful of spinach
  • ~25 mushroom slices
  • 2 tsp unsalted butter
  • 2 tsp minced garlic
  • pinch salt
  • pinch black pepper
  • splash of lemon juice (or a whole lemon squeezed)
  1. Melt butter on medium in a skillet. Once melted add garlic and let cook for one minute.
  2. Add mushrooms. Cook until golden brown or to desired doneness.
  3. Add spinach. Mix in well with mushrooms, coating the spinach with butter.
  4. Once spinach is wilted, add salt, pepper, and lemon juice. Allow to cook for one more minute.
  5. Remove from heat and serve!

Notes: As with most foods this hot, I recommend a very hoppy beer such as an APA or and IPA. I choose to pair this with New Glarus' IPA.

The clean bitterness and citrus/pine notes can hold up to the onslaught of heat provided by foods such as this one. The lemon notes in the spinach also complement the citrus notes of hte IPA nicely.

This recipe can be modified in numerous ways. Finely chopped onion can be substituted for the onion powder. Any number of sugars can be used. Table sugar, corn sugar, even molasses or honey. Nutmeg can be substituted for allspice, although I find allspice to have more pleasing flavors in this dish.

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