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Day 43: Jerk Chicken Skewers and Jamaican Red Beans & Rice

In honour of the 20th anniversary of the 1988 Winter Olympics in Calgary, I made some Jamaican food for CBC this morning, since the Jamaican bobsled team was one of the most memorable part of our Olympics. Jerk chicken, of course, threaded onto skewers for easy in-studio eating (saved a few for dinner) but I wanted to do something with my new favorite condiment: Pickapeppa sauce. Straight from Jamaica, it’s a blend of tomatoes, onions, sugar, cane vinegar, mangoes, raisins, tamarind and spices that resembles HP and is delicious with crackers and cream cheese, simmered into red beans and rice, spread on roast chicken or pork, and is a great vegetarian substitute for Worcestershire, which contains anchovies.

Jerk Chicken Skewers

Although the ingredient list is long, these are a snap to put together. If you want to prep them far in advance, freeze the baggie full of chicken and marinate for up to three months; thaw before threading onto skewers and grilling.

1 lb. skinless, boneless chicken breast or pork tenderloin
4 green onions or 1 small yellow onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 -2 jalapeno or small hot red peppers, seeded and chopped
2 Tbsp. orange or lime juice
2 Tbsp. soy sauce
1 Tbsp. canola oil
1/2 tsp. allspice
1/2 tsp. thyme
1/2 tsp. curry powder
1/4 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 tsp. ground ginger
1/4 tsp. nutmeg
1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. pepper

Combine everything but the chicken in the bowl of a food processor or blender and whiz until well blended. Cut the chicken into strips and put them in a bowl or zip lock baggie; pour the marinade over and stir to coat well. Put it in the fridge for at least an hour or leave it overnight.

Thread the chicken onto 12 wooden skewers that have been soaked in water for at least 10 minutes to prevent them from burning. Grill or broil for about 5 minutes per side, until cooked through. Serve warm. Makes about a dozen skewers.

Per skewer: 62 calories, 1.9 g total fat (0.3 g saturated fat, 0.8 g monounsaturated fat, 0.5 g polyunsaturated fat), 8.9 g protein, 2.3 g carbohydrate, 21.9 mg cholesterol, 0.5 g fiber. 28% calories from fat.

Jamaican Red Beans and Rice

Because it’s one of the healthiest and most inexpensive sources of complete protein, beans and rice is one of the earliest known culinary combinations, one that is found in cuisines all over the world.

A drizzle of canola or olive oil
1 onion, peeled and chopped
2 stalks celery, chopped
1 red or yellow pepper, seeded and chopped
2 19 oz. (540 mL) cans red kidney beans, or one of kidney beans and one of black beans, drained
1 14 oz. (398 mL) can of diced or stewed tomatoes
1/2 bottle Pickapeppa sauce
Steamed rice, for serving with

Heat the oil in a large saucepan or Dutch oven set over medium heat. Add the onion, celery, red pepper and garlic and sauté for about 10 minutes, until the onion starts to turn golden. Add the beans, tomatoes and Pickapeppa sauce and simmer for about an hour, until nice and thick. (Add a little water, stock or tomato juice if it’s too thick.) If you like, cool the mixture down and refrigerate overnight, then reheat it after a day or two.

Serve hot, over rice. Serves 4-6.



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3 comments on “Day 43: Jerk Chicken Skewers and Jamaican Red Beans & Rice

  1. Dana mccauley
    February 13, 2008 at 6:20 am

    Although my son was born many years after the Calgary Olympics, he loves the moving about the Jamaican team called Cool Runnings. I’ll have to make this meal for him and pop in the DVD!

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