Jerk is more than just a highly spiced combination of antioxidant rich green onions, thyme, allspice, cinnamon, nutmeg, and hot spices. It’s a process that doesn’t work if you’re in a hurry.
The chicken, fish, or tofu needs time to marinate, the grill needs to be fired up, and that protein needs to cook slowly. All of these elements have to be in place so that the end result will be spicy sweet and full of flavour.
This jerk recipe is mild on the heat side so if you want spicy, you’ll need to add your favourite hot sauce. I kept the marinade mild so kids and friends who are spicy-food challenged could enjoy the fabulous flavours.
You really need a food processor to make this marinade.
No BBQ? You can roast this in the oven. See Step 7.
1 onion, chopped into quarters
4 green onions, chopped into quarters, the green and white part
1 tsp (5 mL) honey or sweetener of your choice
1 tsp (5 mL) ground thyme
1 tsp (5 mL) ground allspice
1 tsp (5 mL) ground cinnamon
1 tsp (5 mL) cracked black pepper
½ tsp (2 mL) ground nutmeg
½ tsp (2 mL) red pepper flakes
3 tbsp (45 mL) lower sodium soy sauce or tamari
1 tbsp (15 mL) canola oil
1 tbsp (15 mL) apple cider vinegar
2 lb. (1 kg) boneless, skinless chicken thighs, approx. 12-16 thighs
- Whirl everything in a food processor until it forms a thick paste.
- Place the Jerk Marinade into a resealable plastic bag or in a non-metallic casserole dish. Add chicken and make sure that the marinade is coating all of it. If using a bag, gently press the air out, reseal the bag, and place in the fridge for at least 12 hours and up to 24 hours. Make sure to massage the bag every so often to make sure the marinade is coating all of the chicken. Open the fridge to get a glass of milk, massage the chicken. Open the fridge to get an apple, massage the chicken, you get the drill. If you are using a casserole dish, make sure the marinade is coating the chicken. Cover the dish, and spoon marinade over top of the chicken every so often.
- When the marinating is complete: Preheat oven or outdoor BBQ.
- Remove the chicken from the fridge and let sit for 5 minutes.
- Remove chicken from marinade and place on BBQ. Close the lid. Discard the marinade.
- Cook chicken on low direct heat until internal temperature reaches 165°F (74°C) approx. 20-30 minutes, depending on the thickness of the chicken. Flip often to reduce blackening.
- If using an oven, preheat to 375°. Line a rimmed baking sheet with foil, place a rack over top. Place chicken on the rack and roast for 35-45 minutes or until internal temperature reaches 165°F (74°C).
- Remove from grill or oven and place on a clean plate. Let sit covered for 5 minutes. Serve.
Makes 4- 8 servings
One serving based on serves 8 contains:
213 Calories, 11 g Total fat, 2.9 g Sat Fat, 0 g Trans Fat, 302 mg Sodium, 3.6 g Carbs, 1 g Fiber, 1.4 g Sugars, 24 g Protein
Professional home economist tips:
- Great as leftovers, cook the entire recipe and then use chopped the next day in a salad or sandwich.
- Fabulous cooked the day ahead, chilled in the fridge overnight and taken on a picnic
- Marinate in a resealable bag overnight, then freeze for up to 3 months. Thaw and cook as directed once thawed.
Adding the Fibre-Rich Side dishes as seen in the picture:
Roasted Sweet Potatoes:
Scrub 2 sweet potatoes well, cut into chip sized pieces, toss with 1 Tbsp canola oil and cracked pepper. Roast for 35-40 minutes depending on the size in a 375° oven. May add 2 tsp smoked paprika if desired.
Cole Slaw Mairlyn’s Freestyle Version as seen in the picture:
¼ a small green cabbage, coarsely chopped
½ red onion, coarsely chopped
½ large red pepper, coarsely chopped
2 Tbsp low fat mayo or your mayo of choice
2 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
- In a medium bowl whisk together mayo and vinegar.
- Add cabbage, onion and pepper, toss and serve.
Easy Barley and Black Beans:
Toss together approx. 1 cup cooked barley with 1 cup black beans, add 1 minced garlic clove, 2-4 green onions chopped, splash of hot sauce and a sprinkle of thyme leaves.
Jerk Chicken recipe is from from Healthy Starts Here (Whitecap 2011)