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CULINARY SOS

Grilled Chicken With the Hot, Spicy Taste of Jamaica

November 16, 1989|ROSE DOSTI | TIMES STAFF WRITER

DEAR SOS: Do you happen to have a recipe for Jerk Chicken that you'd find in Jamaican restaurants? Love to have it.

--CLAIRE

DEAR CLAIRE: Super idea for Thanksgiving turkey too. Meanwhile, here is the recipe for Jamaican Jerk Chicken taken from the Summer 1989 issue of a new quarterly ($10.95 for four issues) called "The Whole Chile Pepper," which one can subscribe to by writing to Whole Chile Pepper, Out West Publishing, P.O. Box 4278, Albuquerque, N. M. 87196.

The key to the recipe is the chile paste used to brush on the chicken. The recipe calls for brands of chile salsa, such as 1/4 cup of Inner Beauty or other Caribbean hot sauce. You can also buy 10 Scotch Bonnet chiles (Harbanero chiles said to be the hottest in the world) and puree them with 1/4 cup yellow mustard for the proper effect. Harbanero chiles can sometimes be found in fresh form in Mexican and Caribbean markets. If not available, use any hot chile.

According to the chile article, jerk meat dishes were originally created by maroons (escaped slaves) in Jamaica, as a method of preserving pork by rubbing it with a chile paste then open pit smoking the meat. Pork evolved into chicken, which is also rubbed with the same chile mixture but slow-grilled so that it develops a rather dried out crusty top, similar to smoked meat.

JAMAICAN JERK CHICKEN

1/4 cup Caribbean hot sauce

2 tablespoons dried rosemary

2 tablespoons chopped parsley

2 tablespoons dried basil

2 tablespoons dried thyme

2 tablespoons mustard seeds

4 tablespoons chopped green onions

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon black pepper

Juice of 2 limes

2 tablespoons orange juice

Vinegar

6 chicken thighs with legs attached

Combine hot sauce, rosemary, parsley, basil, thyme, mustard seeds, green onions, salt, pepper, lime and orange juices and 2 tablespoons vinegar in blender container and blend until paste is formed, being sure ingredients are well blended. Paste should be consistency of thick tomato sauce. If too thick, thin with more vinegar.

Cover and let stand in refrigerator 2 hours, or overnight (but not more than 2 weeks).

Rub chicken with paste and grill over very low coals, uncovered, 1 hour. If covered, place coals to 1 side of grill and chicken on other and cook about 1/2 hour. Makes 6 servings.

Note: For turkey, use whole turkey or turkey parts. Brush paste as directed. Roast at 350 degrees according to time table for turkey. Turkey can be covered until almost done, then remove cover to allow skin and paste to crisp.

DEAR SOS: I'm looking for a recipe for Pumpkin squares made with cream cheese frosting. It appeared in The Times about two years ago. Can you help?

--ROSEMARIE

DEAR ROSEMARIE: The recipe that fit your description was a "My Best Recipe" from Ester Derkez of Tomah, Wis. We hope this is the recipe you want.

PUMPKIN BARS

4 eggs

1 cup oil

2 1/4 cups sugar

1 (16-ounce) can pumpkin

2 cups flour

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 cup chopped nuts, optional

Cream Cheese Frosting

Beat eggs, oil and sugar. Mix in pumpkin, then flour, salt, cinnamon and baking soda. Stir in nuts. Pour into greased 17x11-inch baking pan. Bake at 350 degrees 20 to 30 minutes. Spread with Cream Cheese Frosting. Cut into bars. Makes 40 bars.

Cream Cheese Frosting

1 (3-ounce) package cream cheese, softened

6 tablespoons butter or margarine, softened

1 tablespoon half and half

2 cups powdered sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla

Beat cream cheese with butter until creamy. Add half and half, powdered sugar and vanilla, beating until smooth.

DEAR SOS: I am searching for a recipe for jalapeno jelly that I found printed in The Times several years ago. I would like to repeat this recipe for Christmas gifts this year and hope you can help me.

--MARIA

DEAR MARIA: We have dozens of such recipes, but our favorite comes from the restaurant Saint Estephe in Manhattan Beach.

SAINT ESTEPHE JALAPENO JELLY

10 jalapeno chiles, finely diced

4 sweet red peppers, finely diced

2 cups red wine vinegar

7 cups sugar

1 1/2 (6-ounce) boxes liquid pectin

Combine chiles, peppers, vinegar and sugar in large heavy saucepan. Simmer 15 minutes. Add pectin and bring to boil. Boil hard 1 minute, stirring constantly. Skim foam if necessary.

Pour into hot, sterilized jars, leaving 1/4-inch head space. Adjust caps. Process 5 minutes in boiling water bath. Makes about 4 pints.

Only recipes of general interest will be printed. We are unable to answer all requests. Please include restaurant address when requesting recipes from restaurants. Send your letter with self-addressed, stamped envelope to Culinary SOS, Food Section, The Times, Times Mirror Square, Los Angeles 90053.

FO A crusty paste using very hot chiles adds unique flavor and crispy texture to grilled jerk chicken, a dish that goes back to days of the slave trade in Jamaica.

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