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Jerk Chicken

Jerk Chicken

The Mayor’s Thames Festival was a few weeks ago and Erika and I spent some time there browsing the stalls and tucking in to some of food and drink that was on offer. We looked out for the amazing jerk chicken stall that we visited a couple of years ago but were unable to find it – eventually we got too hungry and settled for some lukewarm chinese food which was very disappointing.

This restarted the fire in my heart for jerk chicken. We tried it once before and despite the number of ingredients it tasted quite bland. Some surfing online revealed a recipe from Levi Roots (I adored his ‘Caribbean Food Made Easy’ series that was recently on TV). Initially the number of ingredients put me off but I soon realised we had most of them in the cupboard.

I made the marinade and covered the chicken with it. This went into the fridge overnight and the next day cooked it under the grill, regularly basting with more of the spicy marinade. I served the chicken with some corn salsa (sweetcorn, spring onion, chilli, salt and pepper and a dash of olive oil) and roasted sweet potato wedges which I sprinkled with all-purpose seasoning.

Overall it was a huge improvement on last time; still not as good as the jerk stall at the Thames Festival though. I think that is because they smoke the chicken as it is cooked on the barbeque, something which cannot be reproduced under the grill. The wedges were great (except for the use of all purpose seasoning), and although they didn’t crisp up up they were lovely and soft inside, and the corn salsa provided a zingy accompaniment to the dish.

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Griddled jerk chicken with mango salad and steamed rice

We’ve had jerk chicken a couple of times, most memorably at The Mayor’s Thames Festival a couple of years ago (along with some delicious, blackened, barbequed corn), but tonight decided to try and make it ourselves. We used a recipe for Grilled Jerk Chicken, but in hindsight I’m not sure that was the ideal recipe as Wikipedia tells me that jerk involves a dry-rub whereas this recipe uses a marinade.

We made the marinade as instructed (although with 25% less chilli) and then griddled the chicken which we served with steamed rice and a mango salad (fresh mango, tomatoes, cucumber, red onion and some fresh mint). It was okay and nice to have something different, but the chicken wasn’t anything particularly special – despite all the ingredients, there seemed to be very little flavour when it was actually cooked. We’ll have to hunt out a new recipe (suggestions welcome!)

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