I Love a Good Jerk: Jamaican Jerk Chicken and Pigeon Peas with Rice

We recently took a little trip down to Boca Raton, Fl and happened upon a cute little Jamaican bistro called Rock Steady Jamaican Bistro. The food and service was excellent. I love a good jerk and the spicy, sweet, fresh flavors of Caribbean cuisine, luckily so do my kids. I realized I don’t make enough of this at home, time to change that. I have used the dry jerk seasoning from the spice aisle at the grocery store but it just doesn’t cut it. Time to try my hand a a real, wet, jerk, marinade. I think it was a hit, it had all the flavors I was looking for. Unfortunately neither my local grocery or produce stand had scotch bonnet peppers so I used fresh jalapenos from my garden. I think it still tasted fine but if you are going for authentic switch out the jalapenos for scotch bonnets, just remember they are much spicier so use half the amount.

Jerk Marinade

Combine the following ingredients in a food processor:

1 T allspice powder

1/3 c brown sugar

2T minced garlic

2-4 jalapenos (depending on your spice preference)

1T fresh Thyme

1 bunch scallions

1 t cinnamon

1/2 t nutmeg

2 T soy sauce

Pour marinade over 1 1/2 pounds of pork, shrimp or chicken. Marinate in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes.

I used chicken cutlets and grilled them over high heat for about 4 minutes per side.

A traditional side in Jamaica is Rice and pigeon peas. Pigeon peas come in red and green and can be found in the ethnic food section of the grocery store. They are not sweet like english peas but more like a legume, or small red bean. This easy recipe is made in a rice cooker.

Rice and Pigeon Peas

2 1/2 c jasmine rice rinsed until water runs clear

2 1/2 c water

8 oz canned pigeon peas (red or green)

1 t fresh thyme

1 t minced jalapeno

1/4 c sliced scallions/green onions

1 t salt

Place all ingredients into a rice cooker, and cook until done.

Serve with a sweet fruit salad to balance out the heat of the Jerk and enjoy a little taste of the islands without leaving home.

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