Jerk is another style of cooking that comes from Arawak and Caribe native caribbean tribes. The original jerk cooking method was fish, game or bird on a skewer, marinated with hot chile peppers, allspice and green onions, then roasted over burning hot chile pepper bushes. Jerk cooking was actually a caribbean native method of preserving meat. Later, european ingredients that were introduced to the caribbean by pirates, traders and colonists were added to the native jerk marinade. Lime, rum, black pepper, thyme and sugar became part of the jerk marinade
There is a big difference in flavor when you make the jerk marinade, rather than to use a bottle of store bought jerk marinade sauce. Bottled jerk marinade tastes terrible! The flavor balance is way off of the mark. First of all, manufacturers do not add rum to their jerk marinade products. Secondly, raw sugar or brown sugar is left out of most bottled jerk marinades. If you go to Jamaica and look at a street vendor's jerk marinade, it looks dark brown in color, not a vile shade of green, like most bottled sauces.
Jerk dry seasoning herb mix is a much more authentic product, but the list of ingredients for a pre-manufactured jerk marinade spice mix is not complicated at all. Jerk dry seasoning mix is so simple to make, that it is not worth paying the price for convenience!
Jamaican Jerk Marinade Recipe:
Mix these ingredients together in a mixing bowl:
- 1/2 cup of brown sugar
- 1/3 cup of amber rum
- 1 thin sliced lime
- 1 ounce of lime juice
- 1/4 cup of vegetable oil
- 1/4 cup of water.
- 5 minced green onions
- 1/2 cup of minced onion
- 2 minced jalapeno peppers
- 2 minced scotch bonnet peppers. (green habanero peppers can be substituted)
- 1/2 tablespoon of crushed dried red pepper (The pizzeria style crushed dried red chile pepper is usually made with dried red chile caribe.)
- 1 teaspoon of allspice
- 1/2 tablespoon of thyme leaf
- 1/2 teaspoon of black pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon of sea salt.
- 6 minced garlic cloves
- 1/2 tablespoon of minced ginger.
Stir the ingredients together.
The jerk marinade should be slightly sweet, spicy hot and it should have some tart lime flavor. The thyme and allspice flavors should be noticable. The brown sugar will turn the marinade into a dark brown color.
Set the marinade aside for 20 minutes, so the flavors meld.
Jamaican Jerk Marinated Chicken:
Place 4 large long chicken breast strips on 4 bamboo skewers. Each chicken strip should weigh 3 to 3 ounces apiece.
Place the skewers in the jerk marinade.
Refrigerate the jerk chicken skewers and let them marinate for at least 2 hours.
Warm Rum Plum Dressing Recipe:
Cut a piece of salt pork into small lardon cube shapes. (About 1 tablespoon of the lardons is plenty.)
Saute the lardons over medium low heat in a saute pan, till they become crisp.
Add 1 tablespoon of minced onion.
Add 1 teaspoon of minced ginger.
Saute till the onions turn clear.
Add 1 tablespoons of red wine vinegar.
Add 2 1/2 tablespoons of vegetable oil.
Add 1 tablespoon of water.
Add 1/2 tablespoon of apple cider vinegar.
Add 3 ounces of rum.
Add sea salt and coarsely ground black pepper.
Add 1 pinch of allspice.
Add 1 finely chopped fresh black plum.
Add 1 1/2 to 2 tablespoons sugar. (Taste the dressing. It should taste like a balance of sweet and sour. Adjust the sugar or vinegar to your sweet and sour balance preference.)
Simmer and reduce the rum plum dressing, till it becomes a thin glazy warm vinaegrette sauce consistency.
Add 1 thin sliced black plum to the warm rum plum dressing.
Keep the dreesing warm over very low heat.
Jamaican Jerk Chicken and Rum Plum Warm Spinach Salad:
Heat a char grill or cast iron skillet over medium/medium high heat.
Grill the jerk chicken skewers. (For an indoor method, place the jerk chicken skewers on a wire roasting rack in a roasting pan. Cook the skewers under the broiler in an oven.)
Baste the skewers occasionally with the jerk marinade glaze.
Broil or char grill the jerk chicken skewers, till they become lightly caramelized and till the chicken becomes fully cooked.
Place 2 large handfuls of baby spinach leaves into a mixing bowl.
Add a little bit of sliced onion,
Add a few thin slices of carrot.
Stir the warm plum dressing and pour is over over the spinach mixture in the mixing bowl.
Toss the salad quickly with the hot dressing.
Mound the warm spinach salad on the center of a plate.
Place the jerk chicken skewers on the mound of warm spinach salad, so the criss cross.
The flavor of this recipe is pure Jamaican yum, Mon! Deep spicy hot, lime, cane sugar and rum flavors are so yummy together! The warm rum plum spinach salad is a perfect match for spicy jerk chicken. Tangy, lardons, plum and rum aromas from the warm dressing greet the senses in a pleasant way! This is a nice summer holiday recipe. Ya Mon! ... Shawna