|jerk chicken with rice 'n peas|
But seriously, this is a fiery dish of fragrant and warm, sweet, smoky spice flavours, fuelled by the fabulous allspice berry which tastes of a bewitching combination of cloves, cinnamon and nutmeg. Allspice is reputed to have digestive benefits, but all I know is that my tummy feels very happy after eating jerk chicken!
After I had cooked this dish a few days ago, a friend came around. As she walked into the house she said "what's that smell?" Which I mis-heard as "oh my god, what's that awful smell?" I found myself looking at the bottom of my shoes and felt a little shifty. Even the cat looked guilty. But it turned out that what my friend was really saying was "what a fabulous smell!". She even liked the leftovers!
Now I may brag about how good my jerk seasoning is, but this is really a typical case of Kelly hot air. A real expert in jerk cooking is Helen over at Food Stories and she has some fabulous tips which you can read here.
Skill level: Easy
chicken wings, cut in half
1 x mug basmati rice (about 200g)
½ tsp salt (or more if you prefer)
1 x mug water
½ x mug coconut milk
1 x can of kidney beans (410g), drained 1 x bunch spring onions, chopped (incl. green parts)
1 x sprig fresh thyme
1 x garlic clove, finely chopped
1 tsp ground allspice
- Smother the chicken with the jerk paste. Since the paste is full of raw chillies, I use rubber gloves to do this as I am allergic to them! Cover and refrigerate overnight or at least 8 hours.
- Bring the chicken back to room temperature and then shake off the excess marinade (as this will cause the chicken to burn before it is cooked through).
- Because of the amount of sugar in the jerk paste, the chicken can catch when grilling. If I am not barbecuing the meat on a grill, I tend to grill the pieces for several minutes on each side, before transferring to the oven. Cook on a baking tray at about 180C / Gas Mark 4 for about 30 minutes. The juices should run clear and the skin should have crisped up.
- While the chicken is cooking make the rice 'n peas.
- Place the rice in a large lidded saucepan with salt. Add the water and bring to the boil.
- Add the kidney beans, coconut milk, spring onions, thyme, garlic and allspice and bring back to the boil.
- Immediately put the lid on the pan and turn the heat right down to the lowest setting. Simmer for 12 to 15 minutes until the rice is tender. (Don't be tempted to check before the 12 minutes is up as you will lose all the lovely steam which is cooking the rice).
- Remove from the heat and stir. Set aside, either covered with a clean tea towel or with the lid slightly off (so that some of the steam will evaporate).
- The rice should be ready after another 5 minutes. Give it another stir before serving with the cooked chicken and a little chopped salad.