When we were in California, our friends made us Jamaican jerk quesadillas. They were seriously delicious and I couldn't get jerk off my mind. It also happened that Gabrielle Hamilton mentions a jerk chicken recipe in her book "Blood, Bones, and Butter" and I was reading that book on my Californian vacation. So, I had to make my own jerk chicken as soon as I got home to my kitchen. I did a little bit of research and was off to find some scotch bonnet peppers, which give jerk its unique flavor. Be extremely careful handling scotch bonnets - they are way, way hotter than habaneros - so make sure you wear gloves! I found the peppers at my local grocery store, so you'll probably be able to find them too. They range from bright orange to scarlet when they are ripe.
With the summer heat, I decided to make the chicken in the slow cooker. I'm so glad that I did, because I didn't have time to marinate the chicken, but it ended up not mattering because the slow cooking process truly infused the chicken with the jerk flavor. The chicken was great, really intense flavors and just enough spice. The first time, I ate it plain, as a sandwich with fried plaintain chips (blech, won't be sharing the recipe since I really didn't like them at all). And tomorrow, if you stop by the "Thursday Update," I will share an amazing pizza recipe that uses the jerk chicken!
Slow Cooker Jerk ChickenMarinade from Caribbean Pot
For the marinade:
8 scallions (green onions)
5 sprigs of fresh thyme (about 1 tablespoon chopped)
2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1 tablespoon brown sugar
2 teaspoon ground allspice
1 teaspoon nutmeg
1 teaspoon cinnamon
2 scotch bonnet peppers
1/3 cup soy sauce
2 tablespoon vegetable oil
1/4 cup vinegar
1/2 cup orange juice
2 cloves garlic
1 teaspoon grated ginger
3 chicken breasts, cut into pieces
Rough chop the scallions, peppers, garlic, onion and thyme and place in the food processor to make it easier to puree. Remember when working with these hot peppers to wear gloves (the natural oil is deadly). Also note that most of the heat is within the seeds and the membrane that surround the seeds. So to control the heat, discard those. However, for that authentic Jamaican feel keep the entire peppers.
Now, add all the other ingredients to the food processor and pulse to start. Run the puree speed for about 2-3 minutes until everything breaks down to a smooth consistency.
Turn the slow cooker on low and add the chicken. Pour the jerk marinade all over the chicken. Cook on low for 6 hours, turning the chicken several times throughout the cooking process. Once the chicken has cooked, remove it from the slow cooker and then strain the jerk sauce that remains in the slow cooker. Shred the chicken, then return it to the slow cooker and then pour the strained sauce over top, mixing well.
Serve as sandwiches on whole wheat rolls with tomatoes and your choice of condiments. Or stay tuned for a fabulous pizza recipe tomorrow!