Monday, June 4, 2012

Jerk Chicken

This post is a little bit overdue.  But what can I say- it's definitely worth the wait.  When it comes to grilling out, nothing else quite gets the senses going like jerk chicken (or jerk anything really).  Yeah, you can go buy a bottled jerk marinade at the store and call it a night.  But why cook with all the extra preservatives and sodium when you can whip up a tasty recipe from fresh, nutritious ingredients?

Vegetables, fruits, herbs and spices are all packed with flavor and can lend a lot to a dish... when sodium just falls short.  In this recipe, you do need a food processor or blender.  Then we blend together onions and peppers, spicy ginger, pungent garlic and a whole bunch of spices.  You can use the marinade for chicken, vegetables, meat, fish, even tofu (yes I really have used this marinade on tofu before!)

I used some meaty pieces of chicken (chicken thighs, breasts, etc.).  This recipe is better with skinless chicken pieces because it allows the flavor to soak deep into the meat.  I have done it both ways though, so feel free to experiment.  Although I didn't cook kabobs this time, my favorite way to use this recipe is chicken kabobs with peppers, onions and pineapple..mmm mmmm!

All you do is blend the ingredients of your marinade in a food processor or blender...

Toss your chicken, vegetables, or whatever else you like in the marinade.  Let sit, covered in the refrigerator, for at least an hour and up to overnight.  Cook on a hot grill- this was Sonny's job! 

Buddy likes to sit and watch the magic happen.

And there you have it!  The yummy jerk chicken is pictured here with jerk-marinated vegetables, grilled pineapples and plantains.  As you can see there is a little dipping sauce next to the chicken.  You can reserve about 1/4 cup of the marinade (before you use it on the raw chicken- do not use the same marinade that you used for raw chicken because that is how you get salmonella) and mix that with about 3/4 cup plain Greek yogurt.  Now you have a yummy jerk sauce to extend the flavor a little more!

Jerk Marinade
1 large onion, roughly chopped
1 green pepper, roughly chopped
5 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
2 Tb fresh ginger, roughly chopped (may use 2 tsp ground)
2 tsp ground allspice
2 tsp ground thyme
1 tsp black pepper
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
1/4 cup salt
6 Tb lime juice (preferably freshly squeezed)
1/4 cup cider vinegar
1/4 cup canola oil

Blend all ingredients in a food processor or blender.  Use to marinate your poultry, meat, seafood, veggies or tofu.

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