Chicken, Inspired by a Jerk?

I couldn’t really think of any thumb-inspired phrase that conjures up images of food.

As I mentioned in the last post, I was recently traveling for work, and as the rumbly in my tumbly was keeping time with the plane as it careened down the runway, I flipped open the Hemispheres magazine to see what my in-flight meal purchase options were (that’s right, it’s cattle car coach for me, like all the other regular-sized thumbed people).  On the page before the snack boxes, I found a recipe for Island Inspired Jerk Chicken.  It looked so good that I took the magazine just so I could tear out that page (since they replace the magazines, but would never know to replace a single page).  I didn’t want someone else to miss out on the torment that is flying on an empty stomach while looking at pictures of perfectly arranged food.

There, doesn’t that look delicious?

I made a few alterations to the original recipe because the store didn’t have everything I needed, and also because I couldn’t remember exact quantities of everything I was supposed to buy.  And sometimes just because.  All changes to the original recipe are noted.

Jerk Chicken, Mango Salsa with Mint, and Sweet Potato Smash

Serves 8-12
This recipe is adapted from Chef Gerry Culli as published in United Airlines Hemispheres Inflight Magazine. It is a great dish for entertaining.

Ingredients

Jerk Chicken

  • 8-12 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • 2 teaspoons ground allspice
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 3/4 teaspoons nutmeg (we used fresh nutmeg)
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon thyme leaves
  • 2-4 jalapeño or other hot peppers, deseeded - don't forget the rubber gloves! (original recipe calls for four, but two provided plenty of flavor for those sensitive to heat)
  • 4 Large garlic cloves, chopped
  • 3-5 green onions, chopped (the original recipe called for three, and also called them scallions - not a common word here in the plains - but we used five)
  • 1 shallot, chopped
  • 1/4 cup fresh lime juice
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon each, salt and pepper (it sounds like a lot of salt, it looks like a lot of salt, but it doesn't taste like a lot of salt)

Mango Salsa with Mint

  • 6 mangoes, diced (the original recipe calls for two cups, but people really liked the salsa, so more is better)
  • 1 Large red onion, diced (the original recipe says small, but since we increased the mango, we increased the onion)
  • 2 tablespoons mint, chopped (we went for heaping tablespoon approximations)
  • 1 tablespoon cilantro, chopped (again, heaped due to increase ingredients)
  • 1/3 cup fresh lime juice (the original recipe calls for 1/4 cup)
  • salt and pepper to taste (we didn't use salt or pepper and they weren't missed)

Sweet Potato Smash

  • 6 sweet potatoes (original recipe calls for four, but people wanted more)
  • 12 tablespoons butter, softened (the original recipe calls for 8 TB and unsalted butter, we used salted butter)
  • 1 cup heavy whipping cream, warmed (the original recipe calls for 3/4 cup heavy cream)
  • salt and pepper to taste (this time we used the salt and pepper)

Directions

Jerk Chicken
Blend or process all ingredients (except the chicken) until smooth
Divide the chicken and marinade between two heavy duty, resealable plastic bags
Seal the bags removing excess air and rotate until all chicken breasts are coated
Refrigerate overnight
Remove marinated chicken breast from bags and grill or pan sear over medium heat until well browned on both sides
Adjust the heat to low until chicken is thoroughly cooked and the internal temperature reaches 165F
Mango Salsa with Mint
Combine all ingredients and refrigerate overnight
Remove from refrigerator one hour before serving
Sweet Potato Smash
Preheat oven to 400F
Pierce potatoes with a knife or fork and place on foil-lined rack or baking sheet (the foil is essential to easy clean-up later)
Bake for 45-60 minutes or until tender
Remove from oven and cool until easy to handle
Remove skins (really easy to do while potatoes are hot) and smash the flesh with a fork (yup, it's that easy, small lumps are fine)
Add remaining ingredients and serve
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