My Thursday posts on and off for a while have been “Stuff I Love”. Now that I’ve joined the Simple Lives Thursday BlogHop, they’ve morphed a bit. Sometimes the “Stuff I Love” is simple and the post can serve dual duty like last week’s Ecomower post. Sometimes though, my simple posts don’t really involve “stuff”.
Today’s post is completely “stuff” free, but is simple. When I say it is ‘simple’, the recipe is both easy and can fit into part of a simpler life of “slower” home cooking without processed convenience foods. My friend, Stephanie, always tells me my recipes are too fancy but I promise, anyone can make this.
My husband and I went to Jamaica on a honeymoon twelve-and-a-half years ago. The island was beautiful and romantic and we had an amazing time snorkeling, walking on the beach and enjoying the local cuisine. We sipped endless cups of Blue Mountain coffee and sampled curried goat, pepper shrimp, pulled pork and endless plates of jerk chicken with rice and beans.
We pestered the locals for jerk recipes. They wouldn’t divulge their secrets. Finally we found a Jamaican woman willing to share with us her recipe for jerk chicken. It’s actually more of a non-recipe. I’m sure mine isn’t exactly the same but this is what has worked for me:
- One whole chicken or cut-up pieces of chicken. (Today I used four thighs and four drumsticks from Olds Farm.)
- garlic~ four cloves, crushed
- scallion~ (I cut some green tops from my not-quite-ready to harvest onions.)
- ginger~ one good-sized knob, minced
- thyme~ I cut a clump off my plants bordering the patio
- browning~ there is an actual “browning” sauce that you are supposed to use but I have used soy sauce for years with no ill effects
- allspice~ four or five
- scotch bonnet or Habanero pepper~ I never use chilies that hot; I used two of my little, purple, Bolivian chilies
- oil~ olive or whatever you ordinarily cook with
- beer or water~ Red Stripe would be most authentic, but use any beer you have handy or some water; enough to mostly cover the chicken while it marinates.
Mix it all up in a big bowl and let it marinate until you are ready to cook it. The chicken can be grilled or baked but I usually grill mine. Everything but the ginger, beer, soy sauce and allspice came from my yard except the chicken which came from my farmer-friend Joan who lives twenty minutes away. If you don’t garden, you could easily find all the produce at almost any Farmers’ Market. This can easily be prepared the night before and grilled when you are ready.
I make a sauce that isn’t strictly authentic by pouring the marinade into a saucepan, adding some honey or sugar, molasses and ketchup and boiling until it is thick. This can be done while the chicken is grilling. If some of your family prefers hotter fare, more chilies can be added to the sauce without making the chicken itself fiery-hot.
I always serve my chicken with traditional rice and beans. You can use canned beans, but if you are going to marinate your chicken overnight, I highly recommend you soak your own dry beans.
Cook rice with water at a ratio of two cups water to 1 cup rice. Salt to taste. (If you cook up a big pot of plain rice you can set aside and season half of it differently for another day’s dinner.) Cook beans until tender and add to rice. Pour a little milk into the rice/bean mixture, sprinkle with a dash of nutmeg and cinnamon and simmer until the milk is absorbed.
Good food really can be simple.