Caribbean Jerk Chicken with Pineapple-Coconut Rice
Caribbean jerk chicken with pineapple-coconut rice is a great combination of a little sweetness, some spice and a whole lot of flavors.

Over a decade ago, when my sister and brother-in-law returned from their honeymoon in Jamaica, we sat down to view their vacation photos, only to discover that at least half of them were just shots of the food they ate.

While I have spent a good amount of time teasing her about this over the years, I can’t disagree that Caribbean food is phenomenal, and this week, I decided to try a new recipe with Jamaican-inspired flavors myself. (As a side note, this is the promised recipe to use some of that basmati rice from the Puerto Rican dish I shared with you earlier.)

I found this recipe on the blog “Ambitious Kitchen.” You can find the original at https://www.ambitiouskitchen.com/one-pan-caribbean-jerk-chicken-with-pineapple-coconut-rice/. I added extra seasoning in my version.

Caribbean Jerk Chicken with Pineapple-Coconut Rice

Caribbean jerk chicken with pineapple-coconut rice is a great combination of a little sweetness, some spice and a whole lot of flavors. 
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Caribbean
Keyword: basmati rice, coconut, green onion, Jamaican, jerk chicken, pineapple, red bell pepper

Ingredients

Chicken Ingredients

  • 4 boneless skinless chicken thighs, excess fat trimmed
  • 1/2 tablespoon olive oil
  • 6 cloves garlic minced
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon lime juice
  • 1/2 tablespoon honey
  • 1 tablespoon ground ginger
  • 1/2 tablespoon ground allspice
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper

Rice Ingredients

  • 1/2 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 bunch green onions cut into 1/2-inch rounds
  • 1 large red bell pepper cut into one-inch pieces
  • 15 ounces lite coconut milk
  • 1 cup fresh frozen or canned pineapple chunks
  • 1 cup basmati rice

Instructions

  • Before chopping your vegetables, you’ll want to let your chicken start marinating. In a large bowl, combine the olive oil, garlic, soy sauce, apple cider vinegar, lime juice, honey, ginger, allspice, cinnamon, thyme, cayenne, sea salt and black pepper and whisk until everything is well combined. Add the chicken thighs and stir to coat them completely.
  • Set the bowl aside and let the chicken marinate while you prepare the rest of the ingredients.
  • For the rice, heat olive oil over medium heat in a large skillet or Dutch oven with a lid.
  • When the oil is hot, add the chicken thighs and saute for about five minutes on each side. Remove them from the pan and set them aside.
  • Add the green onion and bell pepper to the pan and saute for several minutes until they’re both soft.
  • Pour in the coconut milk and the rice and stir to combine. Bring the temperature up to medium-high heat and add in the pineapple, stirring again.
  • Place the browned chicken, any juices, and the remainder of the marinade on top, and cover with the lid.
  • Reduce heat to low and simmer for 20 to 25 minutes, or until the rice is cooked through. Serve immediately.

Joey was majorly skeptical about the use of pineapple in this dish, but he was pleasantly surprised by the final outcome. It wasn’t overly sweet, and the little pops of sweetness from the fruit was actually a nice offset to the spiciness of this dish.

He did say that he wouldn’t have minded if the pineapple was in smaller pieces, though, so if you’re worried, you might cut your pineapple chunks in half.

This also reheated famously as leftovers.

And despite all of the grief I gave my sister, I guess it’s obvious I took a photo of my plate of Caribbean food, too. I’ll just need to take about 100 more for us to be even.

This piece first appeared in print on Jan. 28, 2021.

Spice Up Your Life is a weekly newspaper column written by Lindsey Young in south central Kansas and sponsored by Main Street Co. & Kitchen Corner in Newton, Kan. Visit their website at shopmainstco.com.