Jerk is a Jamaican style of cooking where meat is marinated overnight in a spicy rub or paste then grilled over high heat. You can buy any number of prepared Jerk seasonings and marinades in grocery stores, but making your own is very easy and definitely worth the effort.
The two most important ingredients in jerk seasoning are allspice and Scotch bonnet peppers. This recipe is inspired by Clean Eating magazine. It calls for many ingredients, but it's relatively easy to prepare. Here's what you need:
12 skinless chicken drumsticks (or you can use a combination of bone-in white and dark meat chicken pieces)
1 small onion
3-4 Scotch bonnet or habanero chilies
4 green onions
4 garlic cloves
juice of 1 lime
3 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves
2 teaspoons ground allspice
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon black pepper
3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
3/4 teaspoon fresh ground nutmeg
1/4 cup yogurt (low fat is fine)
Scotch bonnet peppers are extremely hot and it's a good idea to wear gloves while handling them. Remove the stems and seeds from the peppers. I used 3 peppers and the spice level in the finished dish was just slightly above what I can comfortably tolerate. You can increase or decrease the chilies based on your comfort level.
Now make the marinade by combining all ingredients except the chicken and yogurt in a blender or food processor.
Blend until combined and somewhat smooth. You'll still see small chunks of onion and pepper.
Reserve 1/4 cup of the marinade.
Mix it with 1/4 cup of yogurt. This will serve as a slightly cooling dipping sauce for the chicken. You can skip this step but I found it nice to have. Cover and refrigerate until chicken is ready to serve.
Pour the remaining marinade over the chicken in a large freezer bag.
Remove as much air from the bag as possible and seal, then massage to distribute the marinade evenly over the chicken. Refrigerate at least 4 hours or overnight.
When you're ready to grill the chicken, heat the grill to medium and lightly oil the grate. Shake off excess marinade from the chicken before placing it on the grill. Grill chicken, turning often, until cooked through.
The outside will get a little blackened and crisp, but that's just making it more delicious.
Pile the chicken drumsticks on a serving platter.
I served these with steamed asparagus and baked sweet potato fries. The fries were especially good with the yogurt dipping sauce.
If you've got someone in your life who loves spice, you've got to give this a try. What's your favourite spicy dish? Let me know in the comments.