As you may know, I’m currently enjoying a trip I won to Jamaica from BevMo! I’ll be back soon to share more recipes, but in the meantime, I’d like to introduce you to one of my all time favorite bloggers and my personal friend, Sue from The View from Great Island.
Hi everybody! Since Christina is off in the tropics and we’re stuck here, I thought it would be fun to try and make a Jamaican inspired dish so we all can get a tiny taste of what she’s enjoying this week. Quick — what do you think of when someone says Jamaican food? If you’ve never been to Jamaica it can be a tough one. I think rum, jerk chicken, definitely allspice, pineapple, lime… did I say rum? This chicken has a little bit of all that going on, and a whole lot more. Jamaican cuisine is surprisingly complex considering it’s such a tiny island…but so many different cultures have passed through over the years, each adding their own special flavors and spices to the melting pot. This chicken dish has quite a punch to it…the combination is a little unexpected, and completely unforgettable.
Be sure to grab a fresh pineapple from the supermarket for this recipe – don’t be tempted to use canned. It’s so easy to prep, just lop off the top, and run a serrated knife down all the sides to remove the rind. Then just slice it up. There’s no need to remove the core, it’s edible, and in fact it’s the healthiest part!
The key to this dish is the marinade, which is also the glaze and sauce for the chicken. It’s my version of a jerk sauce, and it’s powerful stuff. There are spices like coriander, nutmeg, allspice, and black pepper, combined with a hot chili pepper, brown sugar, soy sauce, pineapple and lime juices…and the list goes on! Suffice it to say you won’t be bored. I grind the coriander, nutmeg, and allspice myself because the flavor and aroma is so much more vivid when you start with whole spices. A coffee grinder works great for the coriander and allspice, and I use a fine microplane grater for the nutmeg.
I use a really big freezer bag to hold the chicken and all the marinade. Let it sit in the fridge overnight, or, if you’re pressed for time, an hour will do.
Then I give the chicken and the pineapple a quick browning in a grill pan before baking in the oven. The caramelization you’ll get from this simple step crisps the chicken skin and gives everything a flavor boost.
I brush on more of the marinade before putting it in the oven, and I baste once or twice during the baking, too. You can’t get too much of that sauce, it’s precious!
The chicken cooks for about 40 minutes and comes out of the oven a deep mahogany brown and smelling insane. The warm pineapple is sweet and spicy, and each of the flavors manages to come through bright and clear. The chicken itself is super moist and succulent, I highly recommend it.
- 2 chicken breasts, bone in, skin on, each one split in half
- 2-4 chicken legs
- 2-4 chicken thighs, bone in, skin on
- 1 pineapple, peeled and sliced in ½" slices
- a big handful of fresh cilantro leaves for garnish
- 2 tsp coriander
- 2 tsp allspice
- ½ tsp nutmeg
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tsp black pepper
- 2 cloves garlic
- a 4" piece of ginger, peeled and cut in chunks
- 1 Serrano pepper, cut in chunks, seeds and all
- the zest and juice of 1 lime
- ¼ cup packed dark brown sugar
- 1 Tbsp soy sauce
- 1 Tbsp vinegar (any kind)
- 2 Tbsp vegetable oil
- ½ cup pineapple juice
- ½ cup rum (white or dark)
- First make the marinade. Place all of the ingredients in a blender and blend until pureed. There should still be a little bit of texture left in the sauce.
- I cut the chicken breasts in half so that they are closer in size to the legs and thighs. Put all the chicken in a large zip lock baggie and pour in the marinade. Massage the chicken to coat everything, and put in the refrigerator for at least an hour, up to overnight.
- Preheat the oven to 400F.
- Heat a grill pan over high heat and when it is quite hot, remove the chicken pieces from the marinade, shake off the excess liquid, and brown the chicken for a couple of minutes to get a nice caramelization. I did this with the pineapple, too. (You can actually skip this whole step if you are in a hurry)
- Put the leftover marinade in a saucepan and heat to a boil and cook for a couple of minutes to thicken slightly.
- Arrange the chicken and the pineapple on a large baking sheet. I like to cut the pineapple rings in half or in quarters first. Brush liberally with the sauce.
- Bake for about 40 minutes, until the chicken is browned and cooked through. Baste everything with the sauce once or twice during baking to keep it from drying out.
- Serve the chicken right away, garnished with fresh cilantro leaves and more sauce on the side.