In spite of the fact that this June has begun with rainy days, I still enjoy the prospect of getting outside to the BBQ at this time of year. In early summer, we always seem to crave those bright flavours.
Last summer, Rocket got himself a jerk pan, by which I mean, some kind of oil drum converted into a barbecue. Passing by in the back streets of Brixton one day, he saw his beloved and it’s creator and couldn’t resist it. Rocket’s new best friend Del the jerk pan man, took his specifications and duly made his heart’s desire to order:
I would not presume to hold court as to what constitutes genuine jerk chicken nor the appropriate content of the jerk seasoning; however we recently served our version of this classic along with my special sunshine salad. I hope this spreads a little cheer.
For the jerk chicken
6 chicken thighs, or a whole chicken portioned if you prefer
1 cinnamon stick, broken up
1 tbsp fresh coriander, chopped
1/2 tsp coriander seeds – crushed finely
1 tbsp fresh thyme – if its soft summer thyme, use the whole thing –in winter pick off the leaves
1/2 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
1 1/2 tsp allspice, crushed
3 cloves of garlic – crushed
2 Scotch Bonnet chillies, (or less if you prefer) seeds removed
1 tbsp freshly ground black pepper
1 tsp fresh ginger – roughly chopped
The juice and zest of a lime
2 tablespoons of olive oil
A tsp of salt
Grind everything at once in the food processor until it’s a smooth paste.
Cut slashes in the chicken pieces, and cover in the marinade. Be careful not to touch your face or anything else (tee hee) if you touch the paste but I advocate the use of gloves…. To avoid chilli eye… etc.
Cover the chicken and put into the fridge. If possible marinate over night, if not go for at least 2 hours ahead of cooking. Always take the chicken out of the fridge 30 minutes before cooking anyway. The BBQ until golden on the outside and cooked through to the bone on the inside. If it’s raining (surely not I hear you cry!) just roast the chicken in a baking tray on 180 for about 40/ 50 minutes.
For the Sunshine in a bowl
1 large ripe mango – peeled and chopped into 1cm pieces
2 ripe (not over ripe just on the button) avocadoes, peeled and chopped into 1cm pieces
1 medium red onion – peeled and chopped into ½ cm pieces
2 red chilli’s – halved lengthways de-seeded and sliced thinly try to get the Dutch type ones, meaning not the screaming hot birds- eye ones.
1 lime – juiced
2 tablespoons of olive oil
1 tablespoon chopped coriander
Salt to taste
Mix all the ingredients together and place into a serving bowl until you are ready to eat – allowing time to steep is good, you can make it an hour or two in advance but don’t refrigerate because it dulls the vibrant flavours.