Jerk Chicken


Don’t wimp out! Use scotch bonnet chillies instead of regular chillies for this

Since the pandemic, I’ve never spent as much time in the kitchen and in truth I’ve become a little jaded recently. I needed to rediscover my motivation and Jerk Chicken from the Hairy Dieters has me feeling the love for food again.

This recipe is mouth-wateringly good. Do take the time to marinate the chicken thighs for at least 2 hours, but ideally overnight, to allow the flavours to intensify. And unless you’re really ‘anti-heat’, make sure you use scotch bonnet chillies, instead of regular, boring chillies. You WILL notice a difference, but it WILL be worth it. Embrace the heat! 🙂

My teenage son Will is still in ‘training’ when it comes to appreciating spices. The poor boy’s eyes were watering while he was eating this, but he loved the taste so much that he kept going until he cleaned his plate. That’s my boy! You can serve this with a side salad, or a small portion of rice or couscous. Want something a little tamer? Ok….. try Sticky Chicken with Coleslaw instead.

Recipe: Jerk Chicken

Calories: 333 per portion (if serving 4); 222 per portion (if serving 6)

Serves: 4-6

Book: Hairy Dieters – Eat for Life

Prep time: Approx 25 minutes, plus marinating

Cooking time: Approx 25 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 12 boneless, skinless chicken thighs
  • Lime wedges, to serve
  • Flaked sea salt
  • Ground black pepper

Marinade:

  • 6 spring onions (trimmed and roughly chopped)
  • 20g chunk of fresh root ginger (peeled and roughly chopped)
  • 4 garlic cloves (peeled and halved)
  • 2-3 scotch bonnet chillies (stalks removed)
  • 1 tbsp fresh thyme leaves (or 1 tsp dried thyme)
  • 1 tsp ground allspice
  • ½ tsp ground nutmeg
  • ½ tsp ground cinnamon
  • 3 tbsp dark brown sugar
  • 2 tbsp fresh lime juice
  • 1 ½ tbsp dark soy sauce

Cost per portion: Approx £2.01 (if serving 4); £1.33 (if serving 6)

Method: To make the marinade, put all the ingredients in a food processor and blitz to make a thick puree. You’ll need to remove the lid and push the mixture down a couple of times with a rubber spatula until you get the right consistency.

Put the chicken on a board and trim off as much fat as you can with good kitchen scissors. Slash each thigh a couple of times with a sharp knife, put them all in a bowl and season with a little salt and lots of freshly ground pepper. Tip the jerk marinade on top and mix well, then cover and chill for at least 2 hours or overnight.

Preheat the oven to 220 degrees C / Fan 200 degrees / Gas 7 and line a large baking tray with baking parchment, Place the chicken on the tray, shaking off any excess marinade as you go and shaping the pieces back into neat thighs if they have opened out during marinating.

Bake the chicken for 25 minutes or until it is all thoroughly cooked, deep golden brown and charred in places. Serve hot or cold with lime wedges for squeezing and a large mixed salad. You could also serve small portions of rice if you like.

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