I’ve been on a Jamaican kick lately and came up with this yesterday:

Keller cookie

The Jerk sweet potato fries are a great addition to any BBQ and the Jerk chicken is wonderful, especially if you dip the chicken bites in the Tamarind-Orange sauce. I’m really hard on myself and I’m really proud of this meal. Next time, I’ll try breast meat as I think it’ll go even better with the dipping sauce. Now don’t let the length of this post scare you, it’s all quick and really easy as there is very little chopping and cleaning and you can double or triple the dry seasonings and have it on hand for the next while; same goes for the dipping sauce.

The recipes are from the book: Jerk from Jamaica by Helen Willinsky and so far it’s proven to be a great book. For this meal I adapted her “Baked jerk chicken wings” recipe; used the sweet potato fries recipe as is and for the glazing sauce I mostly improvised since I was lacking ingredients from Helen’s Tamarind-Apricot sauce.

I started cooking while Sandra, my wife, went shopping, she was to bring home chicken or pork, I had no idea what I was going to get. I wanted to try Helen’s marinade so I prepared that and when Sandra got home with chicken I picked a recipe with chicken and the marinade. Problem was, the only recipe that fit the requirements was baked wings and I had chicken thighs and wanted to grill. Also I didn’t have the required peppers so I used some sweet red pepper and added Ashman’s crushed Scotch Bonnet pepper (from a bottle) to add the required heat.

I used marmalade in place of apricot jam in the tamarind sauce as I didn’t have apricot jam. According to Helen, you use the sauce for dipping, but to improve the pictures I cheated and painted it on the chicken on the grill using a clean brush. Now since the tamarind sauce is full of honey and thus might tend to burn, I painted it onto the chicken 5-7 minutes before removing the thighs from the grill.

Jerk Marinade

Ingredients

1 yellow onion, coarsely chopped
1/2 cup scallions, coarsely chopped
2 teaspoons fresh thyme leaves
2 teaspoons salt (I used one tsp, will try 1 and 1/2 next time)
2 teaspoons sugar
1 teaspoon ground Jamaican allspice
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 habanero chile pepper or substitute jalapeno or serrano or crushed (liquid) hot peppers
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
3 tbsp of soya sauce
1/4 cup cider vinegar or distilled white vinegar

Makes about 1 cup; enough for about 2 pounds of meat.

Steps

Process all ingredients in a food processor or blender. Marinate the chicken in the fridge for a 1 to 4 hours. More hours, more heat.

Pierre’s Tamarind-Orange Sauce

Ingredients

2-3 tablespoons of honey
2-3 tablespoons ready-made tamarind sauce (from indian store)
2 -3 tablespoon ready-made tamarind/date sauce (from indian store)
1 1/2 to 2 tsp of marmalade (or apricot jam) (add to taste)
1 1/2 tsp of Dijon mustard

Makes about 2/3 of a cup.

Steps

Pour the above in a jar and mix. Taste and adjust as needed. It will be a bit harsh on the throat on it’s own but it’s fine with chicken or on those big Indian chips whatever they’re called.

Dry Jerk Seasoning

Ingredients

1 tablespoon onion flakes
1 tablespoon onion powder
2 teaspoons ground thyme
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon ground Jamaican allspice
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 teaspoons sugar
1 teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
2 teaspoons dried chives or green onions

Steps

Mix all ingredients together.

Jerk Sweet Potato Fries

Ingredients

4 medium sweet potatoes cut in 1/2 inch wedges
1 teaspoon Dry Jerk Seasoning
1 tablespoons of canola oil

If your potatoes are large, you may need to to double the seasoning and oil.

Steps

Mix the oil and seasonings together, toss in a bag with the potatoes and shake and knead. Bake at 375 degrees on an oiled sheet for 25-30 minutes; turnover fries after 15-20 minutes.

So make sure to give this a try and don’t forget to let me know how it goes, bon Appétit!

Pierre.