Tuesday, 3 December 2013

Winter Warmers - Jamaican Jerk Chicken and Bordeaux Moelleux

I have been craving hot and spicy food since the winter has started to set in and have found a great recipe for Jamaican Jerk Chicken. Jerk is a style of cooking from Jamaica in which meat is dry rubbed or marinated with hot Jamaican Jerk seasoning. Jerk seasoning can be used on chicken,pork, beef, lamb, sausage, shellfish and tofu. It's main ingredients are Scotch Bonnet chilli peppers, allspice berries and thyme but can also include cinnamon, ginger, cloves, garlic and onion. Once the Jamaican Jerk seasoning has been applied to the food it is oven baked or grilled.

Scotch Bonnet chilli peppers are named for their resemblance to the Tam o'Shanter hat and are exceptionally hot so please be very careful when you are handling and cutting them! They are grown in the Caribbean (where they are called 'Ball of Fire') and change through green to yellow and then red as they ripen.

Allspice (pimenta diocia) is also grown in Jamaica and the berries look like black peppercorns when dried. They are aromatic and smell like a combination of cloves, nutmeg and cinnamon (hence their name 'allspice') but they also have a slight peppery flavour. In Jamaica the wood of the allspice tree is used to smoke Jerk and its used as wood chips on barbecues.

Jamaican Jerk Chicken

3lb chicken breasts
6 scotch bonnet peppers, sliced
2 tbsp dried thyme
2 tbsp ground allspice
8 cloves garlic, finely chopped
3 onions, finely chopped
2 tbsp sugar
2 tbsp salt
2 tsp black pepper, freshly ground
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp ground nutmeg
1 tsp ground ginger
½ cup olive oil
½ cup soy sauce
Juice of one lime
1 cup orange juice
1 cup white vinegar

Put the chicken breasts to one side and blend all the other ingredients in a blender to make the Jerk seasoning. Rub the jerk seasoning into the chicken breasts (if there is any left over keep to for basting and dipping). Leave the chicken breasts to marinate in the fridge overnight. Bake in the oven at low/medium heat for 1 hour, turning and basting regularly. Serve with rice cooked in coconut milk, kidney beans, petit pois peas and roasted sweet potatoes.

Wine Pairing

Bordeaux Moelleux such as Chateau Le Rondailh 2011 pairs very well with Afro-Caribbean food and is the perfect companion for spicy, hot dishes. Bordeaux Moelleux is a semi-sweet / off-dry white wine and is absolutely delicious. The sensation of sweetness is both ethereal and light and I think this style of wine is quite exceptional – rounded and supple with mouth quenching acidity and superb balance. It's also good with salty cheeses like Roquefort, Feta and Stilton, seafood, poultry and desserts.


deana sidney said...

I am writing this down. Love jerk chicken and often wonder what wine works with it.. most wines taste off when you eat them with spicy food. Great post!

Sue said...

Thanks Deana! Bordeaux Moelleux is very versatile with savoury, spicy and sweet dishes - it's a shame it's not often seen outside France :-(