I was hooked when I had my first taste of Jamaican jerk chicken. There are so many wonderful flavors combined in the marinade, which while easy to make demands a lot of spices. This is great for a barbecue or serving for a lot of friends because you can marinade the chicken the day before and toss it on the barbecue or in the oven when your guests arrive.
I can’t claim that I know everything about traditional Jamaican jerk chicken preparation, and my Jamaican friends might give me a hard time for my adapted recipe. For me it is all about the flavorful marinade, and if you stick close to the recipe you really can’t get a bad outcome. It can be addicting – I once caught my father-in-law licking the pan sauce clean.
I make the marinade the day before or in the morning so the chicken has enough time to absorb the flavors before serving for dinner. This recipe is a large portion, but my secret is to save some for the next time by freezing any extra chicken into portions after the batch has marinated. That way the next time you want jerk chicken, just pull it out of the freezer in the the morning and cook it at dinnertime.
- • 3 tablespoons dark rum (optional)
- • 2 tablespoons water
- • 2 tablespoons sunflower oil
- • ¼ (60 ml) cup of ketchup
- • ¾ (175 ml) cup of soy sauce
- • ½ cup (120 ml) of white vinegar
- • 10 scallions (or 1 cup of chopped yellow onions or shallots)
- • 4 garlic cloves
- • 2 scotch bonnet chilies or habanero chilies with/without seeds (or substitute with jalapeño with some seeds)
- • 2 tablespoons dried thyme (or fresh)
- • 4 teaspoons ground allspice (allehånde in Danish)
- • 4 teaspoons ground ginger
- • 4 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- • 2 teaspoons ground nutmeg
- • 2 teaspoons ground black pepper
- • 2 ½ tablespoons dark brown sugar
- • 3-4 pounds (1.3 kg -1.8 kg) whole chicken legs (or chicken drums) rinsed and patted dry
- • ½ cup of lime juice
- 1. Optional: boil rum and water together for about 3 minutes.
- 2. Use a blender to combine the 14 wet and dry ingredients together, add the rum and water mixture, and blend until smooth.
- 3. Put the chicken in a freezer bag and pour in the marinade to coat the chicken. Let it marinate in the refrigerator the day before, or at least half a day. Turn the bag periodically to evenly coat all sides of the chicken.
- 4. Preheat the oven to 350° F (175°C).
- 5. Arrange the chicken skin side up in a roasting/baking pan; pour a tiny bit of the marinade over the chicken, and then top with lime juice. Roast the chicken for about 50 min. or until the chicken is cooked (you can test by poking the meat at the thickest part - the juices should run clear). Once or twice during the roasting, spoon the marinade from the bottom of the pan onto the chicken to keep it extra moist.
- 6. You can serve this with rice and peas, coleslaw or a green salad.
- Don't let the pan sauce go to waste you can toss it with some rice if you don't want to make Jamaican style rice and peas.