Thursday, 7 January 2010

Jerk Spareribs (or Chicken)

If you like spicy, peppery food, this is the dish for you. I had a look at the Joshna's Jerk Chicken recipe in Good Food for All and it's interesting to see what's the same and what's different between her recipe and this one, which I have evolved over a few years of jerking around. She calls for oil, which has never seemed necessary to me, especially in something like ribs which already have a certain amount* of fat. Even with chicken, if it's got the skin - and it should, I think - I just don't see the need. On the other hand she calls for a little lime juice and fresh ginger, which I think would make very good additions. I'll have to try adding them next time.

You may, of course, adjust the amount of chile up or down according to your taste and the strength of the chiles. Is it just me or do Scotch Bonnets seem a pale shadow of their former selves? At least the ones sold in grocery stores? The last couple I bought barely qualified as hot! and certainly not as HOT!!! which is what they should be. At any rate, I didn't have any fresh hot chiles of any kind when I decided to make this, so I used the combination of cayenne and Korean chile powder. I thought the results were perfectly fine.

This is a simple dish but it does require some advance planning, given the marinating and cooking times. The chicken is notably quicker, and a better choice if you can't start cooking until you come home from work. I really like the slow cooked ribs though. Joshna also says you can make jerk tofu in the same way as the chicken, marinating and baking it, making sure it has enough on top to form a nice crust. I might add a tablespoon of oil with tofu, since it's not going to ooooze like the meats.

4 servings
15 minutes prep time; 12 to 24 hours marinade time; 4 to 6 hours cook time

Make the Marinade:
2 tablespoons allspice berries
2 teaspoons black peppercorns
1/2 teaspoon finely grated nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves (strip from stems)
1 1/2 teaspoons sea salt
4 large cloves of garlic
4 green onions or shallots
2 small bird or de arbol chiles
OR 1/2 of a medium-sized Scotch Bonnet chile (or more)
OR 1/2 teaspoon ground cayenne AND 1 tablespoon Korean chile powder
1/2 cup apple cider vinegar

Toast the allspice berries in a dry skillet until they darken slightly and smell fragrant. Remove them to a dish to cool. When they have cooled, grind them with the pepper.

Peel the garlic and shallots, if using, or trim the green onions. Using gloves, de-stem the fresh chiles, if using, and remove the seeds as well if that seems good to you. (They supply much heat.) Put the ground pepper and allspice into a food processor with the remaining ingredients except the vinegar. Process to form as smooth a paste as possible (probably not very) stopping to scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed. Process again, this time adding the vinegar.

Marinate and Cook the Meat:
about 2 kilos (4 pounds) spareribs or bone-in chicken pieces
3 or 4 bay leaves

Cut the spareribs into sections, or your chicken into serving size pieces. Trim the ribs of excess amounts of fat, if you can.

Rub the pieces with the marinade, placing them in a glass or ceramic baking dish as you go. Tuck the bay leaves amongst them, and pour any remaining marinade over them once they are all in the dish. Cover and marinate in the fridge, for 12 to 24 hours.

To cook the pork spareribs, cover the dish and all the marinade with foil and place in the oven. Heat to 250°F and braise the ribs for 5 to 6 hours, until very tender.

To cook the chicken pieces, put them in an uncovered baking dish in a single layer, with the marinade poured all around them. Bake at 350°F for 35 to 45 minutes, until the chicken is done.

Traditionally served with rice and peas - the peas being dried, not green. Brown rice and lentils works very well.

Last year at this time I made Apple, Beet & Walnut Salad #2 and Prune & Apricot Whip with Custard.

*i.e. lots.

1 comment:

Joanne said...

I bet this would be great for my family who eats only chicken! Excellent mix of spices.