This deliciously juicy Caribbean jerk chicken starts off with a spicy jerk marinade with a hint of sweetness. Paired with a quick side of rice cooked in the marinade along with hearty black beans, it makes for an amazing meal!
Well, hello there! I’m gonna take you to the Caribbean today. No, no, don’t pack your bags yet. Let me be more specific. I’m gonna bring the Caribbean into your kitchen and to your dining table.
Caribbean flavors, much like Indian or Asian flavors, are bold and full of color. It’s spicy, savory and tangy – all the good things that I love!
Caribbean jerk chicken or Jamaican jerk chicken as it may be called, is succulent grilled chicken rubbed with a delicious jerk marinade. If you cannot wait till summer to fire up your grills, you can pull it off in an oven like I did. Oven baked jerk chicken is easy and every bit as delicious as the real thing.
The magic lies in this delicious potion – the marinade. Jerk marinade has tons of aromatic spices, herbs and hot hot chilies. Traditionally, scotch bonnet chilies are used. If you cannot find them, feel free to use habaneros or any other spicy chili. The number of chilies will depend on the type you use and also your personal preference. An entire scotch bonnet or habanero pepper may be used for a real kick. If you are using serrano peppers or Thai green chilies, you may need 3-4 at least. The jerk marinade is so so good, you will want to drink it up by the spoonful. It goes exceptionally well with all sorts of meat and fish, or even vegetables.
I added in a good measure of sweet peppers to the roasting pan along with the chicken. The sweetness from the peppers pairs beautifully with all the lovely smoky, spicy flavors that we have going on here.
The best side dish to pair with this delicious jerk chicken is simple Caribbean rice with beans. I cooked down some of the leftover jerk marinade to make a spicy base for the rice. You can cook the rice in coconut milk for a creamy, smooth mouthful or just use water. I’ve done it either way, and it’s always delicious. Add a handful of cooked black beans or green peas to the rice and it is so hearty and colorful. You can also simply stir-fry leftover cooked rice and beans in some cooked down marinade spice for an even easier recipe. So just use the flavors as a base and play with it!
This Caribbean or Jamaican jerk chicken and rice is such a vibrant and delicious meal, you will simply have to put it in your regular meal rotation. After all, who doesn’t love a visit to the tropics?!!
The following recipe card has 3 parts – the jerk marinade, baked jerk chicken and Caribbean rice with beans.
- Scallions - 6
- Garlic - 6 large cloves
- Ginger - thick 2" long knob
- Scotch bonnet or habanero pepper - 1, large (can also use 3-4 Thai green chilies, red chilies or serrano peppers, in a pinch)
- Fresh thyme - 1 tbsp
- Cinnamon powder - 2 tsp
- Black pepper powder - 1tsp
- All spice powder - 1 tsp
- Cardamom powder - ¼ tsp
- Brown sugar - 1 tbsp
- Salt - ½ tsp
- Soy sauce - 2 tbsp
- Lime juice - from 1 large lime
- Chicken thighs - 6
- Jerk marinade - 1 - 1¼ cups
- Oil or butter - 2 tbsp
- Sweet peppers - 10-12
- Lime - 1, sliced
- Oil or butter - 1 tbsp
- Jerk marinade - ¾ - 1 cup (whatever's leftover after using on the chicken)
- Rice - 1 cup
- Black beans - 1 can, drained (can also use green peas)
- Coconut milk or water - 2 cups (or a mix of the two)
- Salt - to taste
- Jerk Marinade: Blend all the ingredients together in a blender or food processor. Use gloves when handling the hot peppers. You can de-seed them to lessen the heat slightly but jerk seasoning is supposed to be hot! If you are still apprehensive, start with half the amount of peppers, taste and add more if needed. Remove to a jar, cover and refrigerate till needed. This recipe makes almost 2 cups of marinade.
- Jerk Chicken: In a large bowl, rub around 1 cup of jerk marinade all over the chicken, getting under the skin as well. Cover and refrigerate at least for an hour or overnight. Bring chicken to room temperature before proceeding.
- Pre-heat oven to 400 deg.F.
- Heat oil or butter in a large cast iron or other oven-safe pan. Take chicken out from marinade, shaking off and reserving excess marinade. Place chicken skin side up and cook for 3-4 minutes, to seal in the juices.
- Slit the sweet peppers, toss in the leftover marinade and scatter around chicken. Tuck in a few slices of lime as well.
- Bake for 50-60 minutes or till chicken juices run clear when poked. Baste chicken with pan juices once or twice during the baking process. Broil chicken for the last 1-2 minutes to get a nice char on the skin. Remove and keep warm.
- Caribbean rice with beans: Make the rice while chicken is in the oven. Heat oil or butter in a deep pan. Add jerk marinade and cook on low heat till it thickens and reduces to a thick paste.
- Add rice and drained beans and saute for a few seconds. Add water (or coconut milk), salt and bring to a boil. Cover and cook on low heat till done, around 20 minutes. Fluff rice with fork and serve along with jerk chicken.
- If you are using leftover rice, toss 3 cups of warmed-up cooked rice along with the reduced jerk marinade and black beans. Season with salt and serve with chicken.
Share this amazing roast chicken meal with your loved ones and take them to the tropics from the comfort go your own kitchen! If you are staying in this Valentine’s Day, this is an amazing recipe to whip up for your loved ones.
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Have you tried jerk chicken? What kind of easy oven baked chicken recipes does you family like? If they love experimenting with flavors, this one is a sure winner! Do try and let me know.
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