Jerk Chicken (mild or spicy): Small-$10.99 / Large-$14.00
Jerk is a style of cooking native to Jamaica. In this recipe, the meat is dry-rubbed or wet marinated with a hot spice mixture called Jamaican jerk spice. The meat is beef usually but one can also use chicken or pork.
The main ingredients of the spicy jerk marinade sauce are allspice and Scotch bonnet peppers. From the crispy-skinned thighs coated with the warm heat, only jerk seasoning can deliver, to the rice scented with coconut milk, this one-skillet meal is all about the how much flavor you can pack into a single pan.
The ingredients for jerk seasoning vary slightly from recipe to recipe. There are always two mainstays you should always expect to see. One is Scotch bonnet peppers (think: one step up from habaneros in both heat and flavor) and allspice. These two ingredients are what make jerk chicken taste like jerk chicken.
Traditional Jerk Chicken recipe magic
This recipe calls for wet jerk seasoning (like Grace or Walkerswood), rather than a jerk dry rub, so the flavor sinks in beyond the surface and into the chicken thighs. The prepared message is easy to find in any grocery store with a robust international foods section. Remember that a little goes a long way when using jerk seasoning. A spoonful will do; it brings heat and spice to this skillet without totally overwhelming the dish.
The History of Jerk Chicken
Jerk chicken is a spicy grilled-meat dish that is most associated with Jamaica but common throughout the Caribbean. Jerk refers to a style of cooking in which the primary ingredient often is chicken. It may also be beef, pork, goat, boar, seafood, or vegetables. They are coated in spices and slow-cooked over a fire or grill traditionally composed of green pimento wood positioned over burning coals; the resulting smoke is key to the flavor of the dish.
The cuisine had its origins with the Taino, who developed the jerk method and later taught it to African slaves, who, in turn, adapted it in creating jerk chicken. The word jerk reportedly stems from the Spanish charqui, meaning dried strips of meat similar to the modern-day jerky.
In Jamaica, jerk chicken is famous for its pungent marinade, marked by allspice and Scotch bonnet peppers, which are similar to habanero chili peppers. Familiar side dishes include rice, beans, plantains, sweet potatoes, and small cornbread fritters called festival.