Jerk Chicken with Coconut Rice & Peas

“Jerk chicken with rice & peas always reminds me of the few times I’ve been in London for Notting Hill carnival. Coming from the West Country, the amazing Jamaican food and general diversity of the day was always an extra special treat. With this recipe I’ve tried to recreate a little bit of that magic in my own home. A warning though – this is a spicy dish. My first attempt, in which I used a whole scotch bonnet chilli with the seeds left in, was too much for Tess, and on the borderline of what I can deal with myself. If in doubt, take the seeds out!”

Nick

Prep time: 15 minutes (plus overnight to marinate)
Cooking time: 45 minutes
Serves: 3

Ingredients – Jerk marinade:

1 bunch spring onions, chopped
1 inch piece of ginger, grated
1/4 tsp ground cloves
2 tbsp brown sugar
Juice of 2 limes
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
3 garlic cloves
1 scotch bonnet chilli
1 tbsp allspice
1 tbsp thyme leaves
1 tsp celery salt
1 tbsp soy sauce

Ingredients – Chicken:

6 chicken thighs
2 limes, halved

Ingredients – Rice:

200g basmati rice
400g can of coconut milk
400g can of kidney beans
1 tsp allspice
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 tsp grated fresh ginger
2 thyme sprigs

Method:

To make the jerk sauce, put all of the marinade ingredients into a blender and blitz into a paste. I recommend removing the seeds from the scotch bonnet if you don’t want it too hot (it’ll still have quite a kick). Leave them in if you’re a seasoned chilli-head or just want to punish yourself.

Score the chicken thighs twice through the skin with a sharp knife to help the
marinade penetrate the meat. Put the chicken into a large dish and pour over the jerk paste. Rub the paste all over with your hands before putting the dish into the fridge to marinade overnight. You can cook the chicken right away if you’re impatient, but the flavours will be stronger the longer you can leave it.

Before cooking, preheat the oven to 200/180C fan.

Arrange the marinated chicken in an ovenproof dish along with the limes and cook for 45 minutes.

While the chicken is cooking, thoroughly rinse the rice in cold water until the water is no longer cloudy. Put the rice into a pan with the coconut milk, allspice, thyme sprigs ginger and garlic, and add 300ml of cold water. Bring to the boil, then turn down to a medium heat and cook for 10 minutes covered. At the end, remove the pan from the heat and add the kidney beans. Leave to rest for 5 minutes to allow the rice to soak up the remaining liquid.

Serve together with a sprinkle of chopped coriander (and if you left the seeds in the scotch bonnet, a large glass of water).

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