This is such an easy weeknight recipe... chicken with the most flavourful jerk marinade that comes together so fast, and some cooked rice. It's the best ever jerk chicken! You can make this as spicy or non-spicy as you want.
The cultural foods of the world are SO cool. What is your favourite? Sometimes I think Asian, and then I change my mind and decide Indian, but Italian is also a favourite. Then I get these huge Mexican favourites. It changes based on my mood. Then, I’ll get in to a cooking-inspiration slump, and I’ll come across a cultural food I’ve never heard of or tried before and I get so excited to try new things. The foods of the world amaze me. I’m going through a big Middle-Eastern phase, so maybe I’ll have a recipe to share with you all soon (or please send my way, if you have a family favourite!).
Two of my best friends have a real thing for spicy foods, and they get pretty fired up about Jerk (pun intended). FYI, they have tried this recipe, and it’s approved by them ;) I am absolutely no expert of Jamaican cooking. One of my best friends who's a chef suggested I buy this pre-made Jerk Seasoning when we were wandering through the St Lawrence Market one day. It was sooo good, but once I ran out, I couldn't find more to replace it. I did my best to replicate this with the ingredients listed on the pre-made rub. It’s taken some tweaking, but I think I’ve got it!
The Spice Level: If Jerk isn’t your thing, is it because it’s spicy? If your answer is yes, the great thing about this recipe is that you can just dial back or eliminate the cayenne pepper, and your spice satisfaction will be met. This recipe is really great without any cayenne pepper added! I ate it that way for years (I even fed it to those spice-loving friends I mentioned above, without the cayenne pepper added, and they still loved it). Cayenne is powerful… I only used 1.5 tsp. I would consider my spice tolerance very average, and I found this on the perfect to high side of the scale. If you consider your spice tolerance as low, I would half this amount or eliminate it. If your spice tolerance is high, well then have at ‘er!
Best-Ever Jerk Chicken
Serves: 2 (portion sizes for hungry athletes ;) )
Prep time: 8 minutes
Cook time: 25 minutes (depending on what cut and size of chicken you use)
Total time: 33 minutes
- 1 onion
- 4 cloves garlic
- 2 tbsp 5 spice powder
- 1 tbsp allspice
- 1+ tsp cayenne pepper
- 1 tsp nutmeg
- 1 tsp thyme
- ½ tsp cinnamon
- 2.5 tbsp brown sugar
- 3/4 cup low-sodium soy sauce
- ½ cup water
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 5 chicken drumsticks, thighs, or 3 chicken breasts
- Optional sides and toppings: Rice, cilantro, pineapple or mango salsa, tropical fruit salad, or cucumber salad.
Preheat your oven to 375°F. In a food processor, nutri-bullet or blender, combine the onion, all the spices, soy sauce, water, and olive oil. Blend until smooth.
Line a baking pan with aluminum foil. Coat your chicken in the sauce, and place on your sheet pan. Transfer the sheet pan to the oven, and bake the chicken for 20 minutes. Then, check it... if the jerk mixture looks like it's getting a bit dark and could burn, cover your pan in another sheet of aluminum foil with holes for the steam to escape. This will prevent any burning. Bake for an additional 10 minutes (this will depend on the size and type of chicken you used!), or until the juices run clear (not cloudy) when you cut in to the chicken. If you have an oven thermometer, it should read 165-175°F when inserted in the chicken.
While your chicken bakes, transfer the remainder of your sauce to a saucepan on your stovetop. On medium-high heat, bring your sauce to a boil. Boil it for 5 minutes to give the onion and spices a chance to cook, and to heat the sauce through.
Remove your chicken from the oven once cooked. I like to serve this over rice, and spoon a few tablespoons of the extra sauce over the rice and chicken! This is also great served with pineapple salsa, cilantro, cucumber salad or a tropical fruit salad.