Monday, 10 January 2011
Jerk Chicken Just Like Yvette's (almost)
So the temperature has creeped back up above 0. and slowly but surely the snow is melting. (slowly)
but still we're in the middle of the dark time. when the sunlight does appear it really feels magical. friends from here say we have a few more months of this and then it will be spring. I can't wait. Kelsie can't wait even more.
last week i couldn't think of a better way to beat the cold and grey, than with a batch of fiery hot jerk chicken, along with a side of rice n peas and of course, coleslaw.
a bit of background on our jerk experience. when we lived in London we had a good fortune to be just around the corner from 2Sixteen Restaurant. over the weeks and months Yvette, the chef-patron of 2Sixteen became a close friend and we spent many an evening talking food/drinking/testing her new experiments and basically hanging out with her. omnipresent was her jerk wings. it got to the point where, like clockwork, we'd both jones for it and need another fix of Yvette's jerk wings. if you haven't tried hers, and you live in London, it's well worth the journey up to Hornsey to try. you won't be disappointed!
the last week before we left, yvette and i had a cooking session in her restaurant kitchen. basically we agreed to show each other the other's favourite recipes. i showed her buffalo chicken wings with blue cheese dressing, my 'El Taquito' salsa, and roast pumkin and chickpea salad with tahini dressing. she showed me jerk chicken, the batter she uses for saltfish fritters and escovitch fish. we have different cooking styles. i like the repeatability of measured ingredients as a basis for experimentation. yvette cooks by a well developed instinct. so, while at the time i understood what she was putting in the jerk, when i got to germany and tried to recreate it i had a list of ingredients, but no quantities.
enter the well documented jerk obsession of fellow London food blogger Food Stories. she's tried lots of jerk and has experimented and honed her recipe. when i read it it looked exactly like my list of ingredients from Yvette and so i decided to go with that, with some minor tweaks suggested by Yvette and taken on impulse by me.
the result was as close as i've yet gotten to reproducing Yvette's jerk. all that was missing was our good friend's company and laughter!
Here's Food Stories' recipe. I've added mine and Yvette's tweaks with asterisks *.
1.5 tablespoons allspice
100g dark packed brown sugar
4 garlic cloves
1 tablespoon thyme leaves
1 bunch large spring onions (about 5)
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
3 scotch bonnet chillies, deseeded
Juice of 2 large limes
1 tsp salt
* generous dash of kecap manis
* juice of 2 clementines (because i had them in the fruit bowl)
* generous dash of fish sauce
* dash of 'seasoning'
* handful of raisins or sultanas
Chicken pieces (I used 2 legs and 2 breasts)
Blend all the marinade ingredients together and smother over the chicken rubbing well in. I use gloves for this, as I do when I chop the scotch bonnets. Refrigerate overnight.
Allow to come to room temperature and brush off most of the excess marinade before grilling on the BBQ. To set up your BBQ for the indirect method, light the coals in the middle in a kind of volcano shape then wait for the flames to disappear, leaving you with coals which have a light grey ash coating. Move them to the sides. This gets the indirect heat circulating around the kettle when you put the lid on. I find it helps to also brush the grill with a little oil. The chicken pieces will probably take about 30 minutes (although it depends on size) – always check the juices run clear.
To cook in the oven, place in a baking tray and cook at 190C for 30-40 minutes, or until the skin is crisp and the juices run clear.
* I of course did these in the oven and the instructions i received from Yvette were to cook the chicken covered with tin foil to keep it moist, and then, when ready to serve, whack up the heat and crisp up the chicken on a rack. Meanhile simmer the marinade to pour back over the chicken for a wetter jerk than you'd normally get.