Thursday, February 11, 2010

Jerk Chicken

(Our Subdivision Sign)
We have been getting soooo much snow here in Virginia that I don't even know what to do with myself... besides cook! Here in Virginia, we don't usually get more than a few inches of snow each year (and even that's rare). This year, however, we've been getting tons! I don't even remember how much we've gotten this winter, but it's almost broken the record for the snowiest winter since they started recording snow amounts!
I've been working at my jobs a lot and was super excited at the possibility of just staying at home for a while. Like everyone else in the northern Virginia area, I headed off to the grocery store to pick up plenty of stuff to keep me busy cooking while stuck in the house. With the weather being so cold, I was daydreaming of weather like this:
In that light, I decided to make some jerk chicken. That's a pretty tropical dish, right? Maybe if I pretend hard enough, a plate of jerk chicken could make me feel like I'm in the Caribbean... right?

(There are PLENTY of ingredients needed here)

I'd made this recipe before and really liked it (check out my posting on October 3 about Curtman cooking). I found the recipe in a BBQ book I found at a used book store!

Here's the recipe for my super great marinade!

Jerk Marinade

* 3 jalapeno peppers
* 1 medium onion
* 2 shallots
* 2 bunches of scallions
* 4 large cloves of garlic
* 1/2 cup flat leaf parsley
* 1/2 cup cilantro
* 2 tsp. fresh ginger
* 2 tbs salt
* 1 1/2 tsp. thyme
* 2 tsp pumpkin pie spice (sounds weird, I know)
* 1 tsp allspice
* 1/2 tsp cinnamon
* 1 tsp. pepper
* 1/4 cup lime juice
* 1/4 cup vegetable oil
* 1/4 cup brown sugar
* 1/4 cup water (more if needed)

That's a lot of ingredients huh?!

Since I have an old school food processor, I just put in the first half of the ingredients first... garlic, onions, shallots, jalapenos, scallions, ginger, parsley and cilantro... Then I just whirled it until it was all chopped up.

(Don't laugh, I know it's old!)

Be careful when you take the lid off... all the powerful smells of the onions, shallots, jalapenos, garlic, etc.... they really hit you in the face! My eyes immediately started watering!
(the smell is great but SUPER strong!)

Then just throw in the rest of the ingredients and process until you get a nice paste that looks like this:

The whole recipe makes about 4 cups of marinade that I just put into a canning jar, labelled, and stuck in the refrigerator. I did use about 2 cups of the marinade for the chicken dish I was making that day though. The book I found this recipe in suggested using this marinade with a leg of lamb which sounded really yummy. I didn't have leg of lamb, but I did have chicken tenderloins, though!

I stuck the tenderloins (about 10 of them) in a clear glass bowl and covered them with about 2 cups of the marinade. After stirring them a bit to make sure that they were thoroughly coated, I just stuck the bowl in the refrigerator for a day.
After a day of marinating, I was definitely ready for some chicken! In the past, I've grilled the chicken on skewers with some pineapple. Since our grill was covered in 2 feet of snow, I decided to just sear them on the stove.Because there is oil in the marinade, I didn't need to coat the pan much. Just a few sprays of Pam and down into the pan they went.
Like I said before, I usually grill the chicken with some pineapple. I think the sweetness of the pineapple really goes well with the flavors of the jerk marinade. So... I decided to experiment. I threw some canned pineapple chunks in a baking dish and covered them with a little bit of the jerk marinade.
Since I just seared the outside of the chicken, it needed to cook a bit more. I threw the seared tenderloins in the baking dish with the pineapple and stuck the whole thing in the oven on a low broil. I wasn't too sure how it would turn out, but it was great! The broiling was perfect because it allowed the pineapple to brown up a bit and caramalize like it would on a grill. Also, the juices of the pineapple and chicken got to mingle which kept everything super juicy.
(Fresh pineapple probably works best, but i didn't have any!)
I wasn't too sure what to make for a side dish. I wanted to keep the fruity theme going throughout the meal, so again, I experimented! I threw some brown rice, lentils, and raisins in my rice cooker (I'm half Filipino - of course I have a rice cooker!) and hit the go button. It turned out really well and seemed to really complete the dish!

Curt even went back for thirds! There was only a little bit left over... but those were gone before I could even have a plate for lunch the next day!

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