whole jerk chicken with spicy mac’n’cheese and buttery corn

 

I love jerk chicken. Who doesn’t? That unique sweet spice that only Caribbean food gives you. Mr Greedy actually makes a fantastic jerk chicken, but I thought I’d give it a go using Carol Hilker’s recipe from Dirty Food. The original recipe recommends 4-6 chicken breasts (skin-on), but thighs and drumsticks would work really well on the BBQ. I decided to try using a whole chicken – the only reason being that you often get a lot more value for money buying the chicken whole. You could then butcher it into pieces or keep it whole like I have.

Jerk chicken does need to marinade for at least 4 hours, or ideally overnight, so this recipe does require a bit of prep time.

I also made the island mac’n’cheese from the same book to accompany the jerk chicken, but I did adapt it slightly to add a little more spice! We can’t get enough of chillies in our household.

method

jerk chicken

1 x whole chicken, either kept whole (oven cook) or butchered into pieces (bbq/charcoal grill)

1 tbsp ground allspice

1 tsp dried thyme

1 1/2 tsp ground black pepper

1 1/2 tsp dried sage

3/4 tsp ground nutmeg

3/4 tsp ground cinnamon

1 tbsp brown sugar

4 tbsp olive oil

4 tbsp soy sauce

175ml white vinegar

125ml orange juice

1 x lime, juice only

1 x habanero/scotch bonnet chilli, finely chopped

3 x spring onions, finely chopped

1 x onion, finely chopped

10 x garlic cloves, finely chopped

island mac’n’cheese

240g macaroni pasta, cooked al dente

450g cheddar, half cubed and half shredded

225g chilli flavoured cheese (e.g. Monterey pepper jack cheese), cubed

2 tsp plain flour

1/2 tsp salt

1/2 tsp black pepper

1 tsp cayenne pepper

1/2 tsp mustard powder

pinch of ground nutmeg

1/4 finely grated white onion

1/2 green bell pepper

1 x green chilli, deseeded and finely chopped

1 x large egg, beaten

4 tbsp sour cream

300ml double cream mixed with 60ml whole milk

4 slices of day-old bread, cut into cubes

buttery corn

4 x corn cobettes (half sized corn on the cob, just double quantity of butter if using full sized corn cobs)

50g butter

serves 4

method

  1. combine the dry spices for the jerk chicken recipe – allspice, thyme, cayenne pepper, ground black pepper, sage, nutmeg and cinnamon – with the brown sugar in a large bowl.
  2. in a seperate bowl, combine the olive oil, soy sauce, vinegar, orange juice and lime juice. slowly add to the spice mix, whisking continuously until incorporated. add the chilli, spring onion, onion and garlic and stir.
  3. if you’re cooking the chicken whole – baste the chicken in the marinade, cover and pop into the fridge for 4 hours or overnight.
  4. if you’re cooking the chicken in pieces – spread the marinade over the pieces and pop into a re-sealable bag. seal tightly, and pop into the fridge for 4 hours or overnight.
  5. snce the chicken has soaked in all of those brilliant flavours, pre-heat the oven to 190ºc if cooking the chicken whole. if in pieces, heat up the grill.
  6. to cook in the oven – the chicken should take approx. 1 hr 20 mins, brushing on more marinade halfway through.
  7. to cook pieces on the barbeque – grill for about 6 mins on each side, brushing on more of the marinade.
  8. if you’re cooking the chicken in the oven, use this time to make the island mac’n’cheese – believe me, it’s worth it! in a large bowl, toss together the cooked pasta with the cheese cubes and pour into a large baking dish.
  9. in a separate large bowl, mix together the flour, salt, black pepper, cayenne pepper, mustard powder, nutmeg, onion, green pepper, green chilli, egg, double cream and milk. pour the mixture over the pasta and top with the remaining grated cheddar. pop into the oven alongside the chicken (once it has been cooking for about 35 mins) and leave to bake uncovered for approx. 30 mins.
  10. it’s very simple to make the corn – basically smother each piece in butter, wrap firmly in tin foil and pop in the oven for 30 mins – time it to go in 15 mins after the mac’n’cheese.
  11. remove the mac’n’cheese froom the oven after 30 mins and scatter the cubes of day old bread over the top. bake for a further 15 mins.
  12. everything should be well timed to finish at the same time – enjoy it! i certainly did!!

 

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