So here’s the really juicy details about my Jamaican trip – the food! I confess that I’m a bit of a jerk chicken junkie. I happen to live in a neighbourhood with 2 places to get delish jerk chicken which is both wonderful and horrible. Wonderful because, well it’s jerk chicken. Horrible because every single time I go shopping to get healthy fruits and vegetables in the market I’m suckered in by the smell of the BBQ jerk.
So – when I went to Jamaica with my blogger gal pal Renee from Re:Creative I told her that I was making it my mission to have jerk chicken every day. I mean, what else would I do? I’m horrible at setting goals but that’s one goal that I set and achieved.
We stayed at the Hyatt Ziva resort (stunning!) and they had lots of great food options, most of which we tried, but there’s no question that our favourite hang out was the Jerk Shack on the beach. Every day I patiently waited until it was an acceptable time to start thinking about lunch and then headed over for my fix. Nothing fancy, just some BBQ jerk chicken with a serving of rice and peas, a Jamaican classic.
Needless to say we got to know the chefs well.
The one and only time that we strayed from the Jerk Shack was when we went day trippin’ on an off-resort adventure. But don’t worry! We still got our fix. We had our driver take us to his favourite local jerk spot, Scotchies. If you’re not familiar – that’s named after the mouth-on-fire scotch bonnet pepper which happens to be a popular ingredient in Jamaican dishes. You’ve been warned.
No frills here, just lotsa chicken being grilled over the open fire. My mouth was watering just watching this happen.That chicken was good! Be sure to stop by Scotchies if you book a trip to Montego Bay anytime soon. You will thank me.
Fast forward a week and it was nearly impossible to kick my jerk habit when I got back. I thought, what the heck, let me try to cook up some Jamaican memories in my own kitchen. I admit that I was a bit skeptical of myself – a) I don’t have a BBQ and even if I did it’s freeeeezing out, b) I don’t have patience, and c) I’m not Jamaican, not even close. I just told myself to shut up and went for it. Truthfully I kinda impressed myself with this one.
Did I mention that my neighbourhood also has a small Caribbean grocery mart? Yeah, that came in handy. So I did a little research (aka went on Pinterest) and combined a few recipes I found to come up with these.
No BBQ? No problem mon!
I recommend using bone-in whole chicken legs. This recipe yields about 3 cups so adjust accordingly based on how much chicken you want to make. Give yourself at least two hours for the meat to marinade or preferably overnight for even better results.
Now you can’t have jerk chicken without some rice and peas and coleslaw to ease some of that burn. If you can handle the chicken part, these will be a piece of cake.
For the rice & peas, I followed this recipe from African Bites.
[yumprint-recipe id=’5′]The only thing I cheated on a bit for this dish was the coleslaw. I’ve made coleslaw in the past and ended up with 75% of a huge head of cabbage rotting in my fridge so I just picked up a small bag of ready made coleslaw mix and whipped up my own creamy dressing.
[yumprint-recipe id=’6′]Last but not definitely not least, grab yourself a real Jamaican ginger beer to help wash it all down. Yum! Soooooo good.
Do I have your mouth watering yet? Or even better, do I have you itching to book a vacation to Jamaica?!?
If you’re looking for a bit of a healthier spin on a jerk recipe, check out Renee’s recipe for Jerk Shrimp with Quinoa & Peas. Same jerk heat with a little less guilt.
One of my favourite parts of traveling is trying the local food. This is the same whether you’re visiting a new country, like Jamaica, or just visiting somewhere new in the country that you live in. For example, some friends recently visited Houston, Texas, and found an amazing restaurant on a list of the best things to do there (click here to see it). Whenever they travel, food is involved… just like when I travel! Even if you’re staying at a resort, there’s always an opportunity to try something new and if you’re like me, it gets you itching to be creative in the kitchen at home. It’s a great way to relive some of your vacation memories. I know that I’ll be thinking about our awesome trip to Jamaica every time I whip up some of this jerk chicken. Ya mon.
You can visit my friends at Expedia.ca to help you with the vacation part and don’t forget to think about food when you’re picking a destination. I mean, priorities right?