Jamaican Jerk Chicken

Having spent time in Belize this past winter, I had the opportunity to try jerk chicken at a couple of restaurants on the island. This one came closest to those restaurant dishes.

Sunrise, Caye Caulker, Belize

Sunrise, Caye Caulker, Belize

Most readers know I am a big fan of allowing meat to marinade for a long time. Adjust the time as you see fit.

The jerk seasoning can be made a day in advance. The chicken needs to marinate for at least four hours and can sit as long as overnight.

3 tablespoons dark rum
2 tablespoons water
1/2 cup malt vinegar
10 green onions, chopped
4 garlic cloves, peeled, chopped
2 tablespoons dried thyme
2 Scotch bonnet chiles or habanero chiles with seeds, chopped
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
4 teaspoons ground allspice
4 teaspoons ground ginger
4 teaspoons ground cinnamon
2 teaspoons ground nutmeg
2 teaspoons salt
2 teaspoons ground black pepper
2 teaspoons dark brown sugar
1 cup ketchup
3 tablespoons soy sauce
2 3 to 3 1/2-pound chickens, halved lengthwise, patted dry
1/2 cup fresh lime juice

Boil rum and 2 tablespoons water in small saucepan for 3 minutes.

Transfer rum mixture to blender; add vinegar, green onion, garlic, thyme, chiles, oil, allspice, ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg, salt, pepper, and brown sugar. Blend until almost smooth. Transfer 2 tablespoons jerk seasoning to small bowl. Mix in ketchup and soy sauce to make sauce. Jerk seasoning and sauce can be made 1 day ahead; cover separately and refrigerate.

Arrange chicken in large roasting pan or baking dish. Pour lime juice over; turn to coat. Spoon jerk seasoning over chicken and rub in. Cover and refrigerate at least 4 hours, turning occasionally. This can be prepared 1 day ahead. Keep refrigerated.

Preheat oven to 350°F. Remove chicken from jerk seasoning marinade; sprinkle with salt and pepper. Arrange chicken, skin side up, on rimmed baking sheet. Roast until chicken is cooked through and juices run clear when thickest part of thigh is pierced with fork, about 50 minutes. Measure the temperature in the thickest part of the thigh to ensure a 185 degree temperature is achieved.

Cut each chicken half into pieces and serve with sauce over coconut rice.

Jerk Chicken

Jerk Chicken