Jerk spice mixes are a great way to add a little heat to chicken and pork. And grilled meat on a stick always seems to be a hit. Combining those two ideas, these little devils are great for a meal, or for a finger-food at a gathering or party. Just make sure that if you’re bringing these to a potluck, you bring a LOT. They’re sure to go fast.
Even though the ingredient list has a couple of potent hot peppers listed, the recipe has a good balance of flavor and heat. And when combined with the creamy lime dipping sauce you’ll have no trouble even with the most sensitive of eaters. As listed, this recipe will easily feed four adults and a couple of kids for dinner, with some leftovers for lunch the next day. For a larger group, you can add up to two more chicken breasts without having to increase the marinade paste amount.
- 4 chicken breast halves, boneless and skinless. You can use other cuts if you want – breasts are just easy to get a lot of long, straight pieces of meat.
- 1 habañero pepper
- 1 jalapeño pepper
- 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 4 green onions or scallions
- 1 cup cilantro leaves and stems, lightly packed
- 5 cloves garlic, peeled
- 2 tbsp fresh ginger root, grated
- 2 tbsp honey
- 1 tbsp allspice
- 2 tsp sea salt
- 1 tsp black pepper
Just a little side note here…if you haven’t been following the blog and missed out on the little warning regarding cutting hot peppers in a previous recipe, you may want to go back and give it a read. This little orange thing that’s barely bigger than the first knuckle of my thumb has a serious case of Napoleon Complex…only it genuinely has the punch to back it up. You’ve been warned. In this recipe, we’re not going to be doing much cutting on these peppers, but we will be handling things a bit once they are all blended up, so it’s worth making sure you’re aware of the situation ahead of time.
Start by cutting the top off the hot peppers, then splitting in half (you should be able to do this by only touching the outside). Remove the white membrane and seeds (unless you really want things hot), and toss into a small food processor or blender. You may want to cut the jalapeño halves in half again. Pack in the cilantro. Rough cut the green onions so they’ll fit in there. Peel the garlic cloves and cut off the ends and toss them in. Drop in the grated ginger, add in the spices, and pour in the honey and olive oil. Blend everything up until pureed fully into a paste. If you want to take a taste at this point, feel free…
Next, cut the chicken into strips about 1/2″ thick and as long as the breast. Put them in a large zippered freezer bag, pour in the jerk paste (make sure to get all of it out of the blender), and mix everything up to coat all of the chicken well. Get as much air out of the bag as possible, then seal and put in the fridge to marinade for at least 4 hours, but preferably overnight.
Here’s where the hot pepper warnings come in. When the chicken is done marinading, you need to thread the pieces onto bamboo skewers (make sure you soak them in water for 30 minutes prior to help keep them from burning). Use rubber gloves to pull the chicken out of the bag and thread onto the skewers, or at least use only one hand for handling the chicken and make sure you don’t rub your eyes or nose (or anything else) without washing with soap and water a few times. When you’ve got everything onto skewers, set aside for a moment.
- 1/2 cup whole coconut milk (not the “lite” stuff!). Alternately, you could use full-fat plain yogurt (look for it in the organic dairy case), in which case you’ll also want to add 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- zest and juice of 1/2 lime
- 2 tsp honey
- 1/4 tsp sea salt
- 1/8 tsp black pepper (just a dash)
Whisk all of these together well in a small bowl, then set in the fridge until ready.