There are many dishes from around the world that I would like to try but never had the chance. You always hear or read about it on TV or internet and you know it must be delicious. You could do it yourself, follow a recipe, but you’re not sure how it’s supposed to taste like. Things like Mexican mole, Filipino pata or Peruvian ceviche are on my must-try list. Until last month, Jerk Chicken was also on that list. One of my friend who’s from Jamaican origin prepared Jerk Chicken not long ago and I was lucky to be able to try it. Of course, the next step was to make my own.
I thought I would use the same technique that I use to make roast chicken, that is, butterfly the whole chicken. I like this way of roasting because most of the skin is exposed to the heat and crisp up when using a traditional oven. Prior to roasting, the chicken is marinated for at least one day to get all the flavors into the meat. The marinade is then use to make a wonderful sauce. Finally, it’s served with brown rice and okra.
This is probably not the most traditional way of cooking jerk chicken but the flavors here are so intense and delicious. The heat and smoke from the Scotch bonnet pepper combined with the spices makes this dish really special.
Nico’s wine pairing: We had a Albariño from Rias Baixas (Spain) with this dish and it worked pretty well. A light white with grassy notes in an off-dry style would work perfectly. I would try something from New Zealand, Sauvignon Blanc or Riesling.
Jerk Chicken & Okra Rice
Chicken & Sauce
- 1 whole chicken
- 2 medium onion, coarsely chopped
- 5 cloves garlic
- 1 thumb ginger, sliced
- 1 bonnet pepper, seeds removed
- 1 tbsp dried thyme
- 1 tbsp all-spice
- 1 orange, zested and juiced
- 1 lime, zested and juiced
- 2 tbsp sugar
- 1/4 cup soy sauce
- 1 tsp finely ground black pepper
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1/2 cup vinegar
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 tsp potato starch
- 1 cup brown rice
- 12 okra pods
- 2 tbsp lemon juice or white vinegar
- ice cubes
- Use a pair of kitchen shears to cut through both sides of the back bone and discard. Place cut side down and flatten the chicken with your hands.
- Add onions, garlic, ginger, pepper, all-spice, orange zest and juice, lime zest and juice, soy sauce, vinegar, sugar, black pepper, olive oil and salt. Mix until smooth.
- Pour marinate over chicken, massage the meat, cover and refrigerate overnight.
- Take the chicken out from the fridge and rest for at least 30 minutes until the meat is at room temperature. Preheat oven to 400F.
- Place chicken on a roasting pan skin side up. Clean excess marinade off the skin and brush with olive oil. Roast for about 40 minutes (internal temperature should read 165F). Brush chicken with sauce (step 7) and broil on high for 5 minutes until skin is golden and crispy (watch carefully to not burn). Rest the meat for at least 10 minutes.
- While the chicken is cooking, bring water to a boil in a pot, rinse rice and transfer into the pot to cook. Cook the rice on medium high heat, half covered. Cook for 40 minutes, drain, fluff and transfer back to the pot. Cover for 30 minutes.
- Pour the marinade in a small sauce pan and bring to a boil. Sieve and pour the liquid back into the sauce pan. Bring back to a boil. Mix potato starch with 1 tbsp water. Add the mixture to the pan and stir. Simmer until it reaches the consistency of a sauce.
- In a large bowl, prepare an ice bath with cold water, 1 tbsp lemon juice and ice cubes. Cook okra pods in boiling water and 1 tbsp lemon juice for 2 minutes. Drain, place in ice bath for 30 seconds, drain and dry with paper towel. Slice and mix with rice.
- Discard most of the oil from the roasting pan and mix cooking juices with the sauce.