Jamaican Jerk Chicken with Rice and Peas - tender pieces of chicken with a delicious flavoursome blend of spices served with the perfect side of coconut white rice with kidney beans.
Jamaican Jerk Chicken
Jerk Chicken with Rice and Peas is a dish that brings back many childhood memories for me. I love it so much, that I just had to recreate it so that it can still be enjoyed when healthy eating, but not lack any of those delicious flavours.
I used to eat this weekly when I was younger, cooked lovingly by my best friends mum, who was Jamaican. Her Jerk Chicken with Rice and Peas was the best ever and it would always be washed down with an ice cold glass of Sarsaparilla. Does anyone remember that stuff? I still get cravings for ice cold glasses of it now, when it is hot scorching day.
Oven Baked Jerk Chicken
Usually this dish would use a far bit of oil and the skin left on, but it's just as good lightened up by removing the skin of some bone in chicken thighs and ditching the oil. For the Rice and Peas I make no shortcuts, and stick to regular canned full fat coconut milk. Why? it's really not that bad when you divide up into servings for the amount used.
You can buy many ready made Jerk Seasonings, but as with most recipes I just like to use my own individual ingredients when it comes to making spice blends or marinades for recipes, plus you can't beat the flavours of fresh ingredients.
For this Jerk Chicken recipe we use a fresh scotch bonnet peppers (but you can use Jalapenos if you can't get these), garlic cloves, ginger root, spring onions, thyme, all spice, cinnamon, soy sauce, orange juice, lime juice and maple syrup (or you can use honey) to make the marinade and then marinate overnight if you can, so the chicken absorbs all those flavours.
Cuts of Chicken for Jerk Chicken
So what's the best cut of chicken to use for Jerk Chicken? You want the meat nice and tender, so I always recommend using bone-in chicken. Either skinless but bone-in thighs, or skinless chicken drumsticks or you can do a mix of both. I don't recommend using chicken breasts. Why? they just don't absorb enough of the flavour for me and for the style/length of cooking, they would be far too overcooked.
If you hate chicken on a bone, then boneless chicken thighs will work, but you will want to reduce that cooking time, as they won't take longer than 20-25 minutes.
Removing the Skin from Chicken
Hate removing the skin from chicken pieces? If you have a friendly butcher most will do it for you, but it is really easy and quick to remove the skin, once you get the hang of it. Just grip the skin from the meaty end of the drumstick, you can use a clean tea towel or kitchen paper to grip or even a little dusting of salt on your finger tips will help and just quickly pull off the skin in one piece, repeat with the other drumsticks (this works for thighs too).
Some will say it's easy to remove the skin once cooked, but you really don't want to do it that way round, as you will be removing all the lovely flavour of the marinade.
Which type of Coconut Milk?
You can use either light or regular canned coconut milk for the rice and peas, just be aware that using regular will raise the calories etc.
Also did you know light coconut milk is just regular coconut milk but with a higher water ratio? So you can actually just use a little less regular coconut milk and add a little more water if you want light coconut milk.
I don't recommend using the coconut milk drink you get in a carton, as that is too watered down and just won't add any flavour.
Sides for Jerk Chicken with Rice and Peas
We would always have Jerk Chicken with Rice and Peas served with a salad of cucumber and tomatoes. I am not sure exactly if that is the true tradition, but it always goes well and it is what I have become accustomed to when making this dish. It's simple and quick.
But it really would pair well with any vegetable side of your choice. Plus if you want to be even healthier, skip the rice and peas and go for this Roasted Cauliflower Rice, which is delicious.
More Chicken Recipes
Looking for some more chicken recipes? Check out some of these:
- CHICKEN DRUMSTICKS IN A PEANUT SAUCE
- PAPRIKA BALSAMIC CHICKEN DRUMSTICKS
- HONEY AND GARLIC CHICKEN DRUMSTICKS
- HONEY AND MUSTARD CHICKEN TRAY BAKE
- CHINESE FIVE SPICE CHICKEN
- SWEET CHILLI CHICKEN
or head on over to my Full Recipe Index with over 900 delicious Slimming Eats and Weight Watchers friendly recipes all fully searchable by meal type, ingredients and smart points etc
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