Categories
Main Dish

It’s OK to be a jerk as long as it’s chicken

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.

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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.

Categories
Appetizer Main Dish Side Dish

This will make you ‘patty’ yourself on the back for a dinner well done

Jamaican beef patties are full of authentic flavors without the hassle of traditional techniques.

A few weeks ago, I was a bridesmaid in a good friend’s socially distanced wedding, and in preparation for the big day, I did something I have never done before: get a manicure.

I opted for French tips—a layer of very light pink on the bottom and white for the ends of each nail. It ended up being a pretty decent experience, and I especially appreciated the level of cleanliness and mask wearing the nail salon used.

So, for the last few weeks, I’ve had fancy fingernails, something that’s definitely different for me. I’ve also been amazed at how well they’ve held up. Well, that is until this week’s recipe, when I gave them the ultimate test: exposure to turmeric.

I don’t know what the name for a manicure with light pink on the bottom and orange-ish yellow on the tips is, but I’m sure it isn’t French.

The good news? This recipe was so worth it.

This comes from the blog “Host the Toast.” You can find this recipe at https://hostthetoast.com/3-bite-jamaican-beef-patties/. I didn’t change much outside of using heaping spoonfuls of the listed spices.

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Jamaican Beef Patties

Jamaican beef patties are full of authentic flavors without the hassle of traditional techniques.
Course Appetizer, Main Course
Cuisine Caribbean, Jamaican
Keyword ground beef, habenero, onion, puff pastry, Scotch bonnet

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon canola or vegetable oil
  • 2 green onion stalks chopped into 1/4-inch pieces
  • 1 medium yellow onion diced
  • 1 Scotch bonnet pepper or habenero pepper finely chopped
  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 2 rounded teaspoons thyme
  • 1 rounded teaspoon all spice
  • 1 rounded teaspoon curry powder
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/2 cup breadcrumbs
  • 1/2 cup beef stock
  • 1 sheet frozen puff pastry thawed
  • 1/2 to 1 teaspoon turmeric

Instructions

  • Set the puff pastry out about an hour before you’ll need it to let it thaw.
  • In a skillet, heat the oil over medium heat and cook the onions and pepper until everything is soft and cooked through.
  • Add the beef, thyme, all spice, curry powder, salt and pepper, stirring regularly until the beef is cooked through. If there is excess fat in the pan, drain it off before the next step.
  • Mix in the breadcrumbs and then pour in the beef stock. Mix to combine thoroughly. If the mixture is very wet, add more breadcrumbs, and if it is very dry, add a little more beef stock or water. The goal is for the mixture to hold together well but still be moist. Remove the beef mixture from the heat and set aside.
  • Preheat the oven to 400 degrees, and prepare a muffin tin by spraying it with cooking spray.
  • Place the pastry sheet on a floured surface and roll it out to expand it by a couple inches on all sides. Sprinkle the entire sheet with turmeric and rub the turmeric around on the sheet to get a good coating.
  • Cut the sheet into 12 even pieces, and place the pieces, turmeric side down, into the muffin cups. You’ll want to make sure there is some dough hanging over the edge of each cup so you can pull it around the filling and seal it.
  • Divide the meat evenly into each cup, and then seal each one by pulling the sides of the dough up and pinching them together. If it is not sticking well, try using a little water along the seams.
  • Flip the sealed beef patty over so the seam is on the bottom.
  • Bake for 30 minutes or until the beef patties are golden brown.

I actually opted for two habenero peppers for my version, because the ones at my local grocery store were so small, and they were a perfect amount of heat.

We loved these, and the spice combination was fantastic. To go along with our Jamaican beef patties, I decided to slice up a ripe plantain, fry it in some oil and sprinkle it with salt. It was fantastic.

So, my days of fancy nails are over, I’m afraid, although it’s a slow process for me to figure out how one removes gel nail polish, which is apparently much different than the polish I grew up with.

But at least while one set of fingers soaks in acetone, the other can be holding onto a delicious treat.

This piece first appeared in print on July 9, 2020.

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.