Where’s me rice and peas??
It’s the Notting Hill Carnival this Bank Holiday weekend. Which basically means that the whole of West London is going to go a bit nuts, dance around the streets and eat some jerk chicken. I’ve actually only been to carnival once before. I got lost trying to find my friends and then cried at a policeman who wouldn’t let me walk the wrong way down a one-way street. Oh. The. Shame.
I’ve have however tried jerk chicken MANY times, fresh & hot off the BBQ at a street food stall, pretending to myself that there isn’t any sugar in the marinade… As a result I have always wanted to have a go at making it myself sans sugar. When I picked up a scotch bonnet chilli, some free-range butchers chicken and a plantain yesterday I really didn’t think about the coincidence with carnival this weekend. Honestly!
There are many decisions to be made when blending up your jerk marinade. Do you use whole allspice berries, or use pre-ground? A whole cinnamon stick, or pre-ground? I’d be lying if I said that I based my decisions on a hand-me-down authentic Caribbean recipe, or that I left out fresh ginger for a specific culinary reason. The honest truth is that my marinade combo came from the contents of my spice cupboard – noting that certain elements like allspice and the scotch bonnet were essential. I obviously left out the sugar… The inclusion of Soy Sauce (or Tamari as I used since it is gluten free) is an interesting one which Felicity Cloake discusses here. It worked for her, so I threw some in, winging the rest of the quantities along the way (having pre cross-checked at least 10 recipes for some guidance!)
To accompany the chicken it had to be plantain. I fancied a shoestring fry affair, so attacked my green plantain (yellow would have been too soft) with a julienne peeler and ended up with these crispy chip sticks. They had a fab crunch, and were so crisp like! These would be great served out in bowls at a party too. Very moreish.
This recipe will work equally well with pork or other meats, even salmon. Allow approx ½ tablespoon of marinade per chicken thigh, pork chop etc. Any marinade left overs will keep in the fridge for a week or so.
Ingredients for the Marinade (makes 4 Tablespoons)
- 1 Tablespoon black peppercorns
- 1 Tablespoon coriander seeds
- 1 Scotch bonnet chilli
- 2 cloves of garlic (feel free to add more if you tolerate lots of garlic)
- ½ Tablespoon ground allspice
- ½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
- ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1 Tablespoon finely sliced chives (or a few spring onions)
- 1 Tablespoon dried thyme (or mixed herbs containing thyme)
- 2 Tablespoons Tamari (gluten free soy sauce) or Coconut Aminos
- Juice of 1 lime
Ingredients for the dish (serves 2)
- 4 chicken thighs, skin-on
- 2 Tablespoons of marinade
- 2 green plantains, divided in half and julienned into little sticks
- 2 teaspoons coconut oil
- Sea / Pink Salt
- Make up the marinade. First dry fry the peppercorns and coriander seeds till aromatic. Grind into a powder in a pestle and mortar. Add them into a blender with the rest of the marinade ingredients and blitz into a paste. Coat the chicken with the marinade, rub into the skin and flesh. Place in a freezer/food bag and leave in fridge for at least 2 hours (or preferably overnight)
- Cook the chicken thighs under a medium grill for approx 20-25 mins till cooked through and crispy on top.
- Meanwhile, toss plantain in oil and a pinch of salt – cook in oven at 180 degrees C for 12-15 mins.
Serve the chicken & plantain with a tomato/red pepper/coriander salsa, and some additional green leaves