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Credit: Catherine Roscoe Barr

This variation of Nigella Lawson's jerk chicken, rice and peas has a lot of kick

After doing a little poking around on the Internet to find out more about Madhur Jaffrey following my Indian Feast post, I stumbled upon a great recipe resource on the BBC website, which led me to their section on Nigella Lawson

Do you love Nigella as much as I do? She's gorgeous, she loves to eat, she loves to cook, she's nice to listen to, and she's gorgeous. And she also has tons of great recipe ideas. Two of which are what I made for dinner the other night – jerk chicken and rice and peas (which, as she explains, is actually rice and beans). 

As usual, I've tweaked the recipes a wee bit. I actually forgot to add the nutmeg and cinnamon but I left out the red chilies and half of the onion on purpose. I didn't have any rum (I drank it all), so I used whiskey instead, plus I had a green onion in the fridge so I threw that in, too. And, of course, I used brown rice, which I always have cooked and ready to go in the fridge or freezer.  

If you're not a fan of spicy food, you may want to add less cayenne pepper. I thought it had the perfect amount of kick – I could feel all of my pores opening and was just shy of being in pain. The creamy rice and beans were the perfect side to cool the palate. 

This dish screams out to be preceded by a mojito (while you're throwing everything together). In the absence of rum, I had sparkling water with lime and pretended it was a mojito.  

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Jerk Chicken

Ingredients

  • 4 skinless, boneless chicken breasts 
  • 2 tsp ground allspice
  • 2 tsp dried thyme
  • 2 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 2 tsp ground ginger
  • 2 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 2 garlic cloves, peeled
  • 4cm/2in piece fresh root ginger, peeled and cut into chunks
  • 2 tbsp brown sugar
  • 60ml/2fl oz dark rum
  • 60ml/2fl oz lime juice
  • 60ml/2fl oz soy sauce
  • 60ml/2fl oz cider vinegar
  • 1/2 onion, quartered
  • 1 green onion, roughly chopped

Instructions

  1. Slash chicken breasts, 3 slashes per breast, making each slash cut about 2cm/1in deep into meat on the diagonal.
  2. Put chicken into roasting dish, slashed-sides down.
  3. Put all other ingredients into food processor and blitz to a dark, earthy paste.
  4. Pour and spread mixture over chicken pieces and leave to marinate, out of the fridge for 2-4 hours, or in the fridge, covered, overnight.
  5. Preheat oven to 350F.
  6. Roast for 30 minutes, with chicken slashed-side down. 
  7. Take chicken out of oven and turn.
  8. Return to oven and cook for another 30 minutes.  

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Rice and Beans

Ingredients

  • 1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 tbsp vegetable oil 
  • 1/2 onion, finely chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 1/2 cups cooked brown rice
  • 1 can coconut milk
  • 1/2 tsp thyme

Instructions

  • Heat oil in large saucepan with lid.
  • Fry onion for 4-5 minutes, stirring often.
  • Add garlic and thyme, and cook for another minute.
  • Stir in rice, then pour in coconut milk.
  • Add beans and bring mixture to a boil.
  • Cover, lower heat and let simmer for 15 minutes.