Understandably we don't automatically associate chili with the Caribbean when we envision the meals being prepared in homes across the islands. However, times are indeed changing and we're experimenting with different recipes, ingredients and flavors. Just take a peek at the many international restaurants you'll find in any capital city of any island in the Caribbean and you'll see that our dining habits are changing. Some may argue that it's a bad thing as our culinary culture is quickly losing out to these outside influences. Topic for another day!
With the success of the Pork Chow recipe I shared prior to the summer, I thought I'd share a quicker version using rotisserie chicken one can pick up at most supermarkets, being that it's a great party food idea when visiting friends. As with the pork chow recipe, it's based on the traditional method of making the spicy pickle usually with mango or other tart fruits. Typically I'd classify this as 'cuttas' or drinking food, usually served alongside adult beverages, but it's just as great a side dish for your dinner.
Though this recipe was influenced by an image/advertising poster we saw at a local McDonalds restaurant, the manner in which we marinate, 'bread' and fry the chicken is 100% Caribbean! It's a recipe our mom would use when making fried chicken for us and not unlike many such recipes you'll encounter as you make your way up the island chain which makes up the West Indies. For maximum flavor and texture, I'll highly recommend using boneless chicken thighs, but if chicken breasts are your thing... you'll also have fun with that.
It's not strange to see me in a parka, winter boots and full "blizzard" gear during the coldest of Canadian winters, tending to my grill with loving care and admiration. Ever since I started playing with fire and smoke on the $15 charcoal grill from Canadian Tire about 25 years ago at the back of the basement apt we rented in one of the most run-down areas of town, I've been a huge fan of bbq and grilling. Yes, there is a difference (so the "experts" will have you believe), but this post is not about the differences between BBQ and grilling, but rather the basic idea of getting the most flavor and best texture from chicken on your grill.
I'm not a huge fan of turkey, especially when it's done the traditional North American way - roasted in the oven. I much prefer getting the cheaper cuts like the necks (Curry Turkey Necks) and in this case, wings. Though a bit tougher than chicken wings, I find that they hold up well to the Caribbean way of stewing and the outcome is quite delightful. Tender pieces of meat, with a wonderful gravy which is excellent on rice, potato, dumplings, roti or ground provisions. The key is in the way we'll season, marinate and finally braise these turkey wings in a process which is most traditional to the Southern Caribbean.
Over the years I've shared countless recipes for making jerk marinades, sauces, how to make finger-licking Jamaican jerk in the oven and classic jerk on your grill and bbq. As we continue our annual July Month Of Grilling I thought I'd shift focus and share a gluten friendly version of this classic Jamaican jerk marinade for our friends who deal with gluten intolerance. A jerk marinade which goes well with fish, shrimp, pork and in this case, some chicken legs which we'll marinate before slowly cooking them over a moderate coals-fire in the back yard.
Curry channa and aloo (chickpeas and potato) is a classic vegetarian curry dish hailing from the Caribbean... with a strong Indian influence. Due to the fact that Indian indentured laborers where brought in from India after slavery was abolished to upkeep the sugarcane industry. I started adding chicken to the mix as a means of adding more flavor and added texture to the mix. Plus it's a great way to use chicken breast, without it going dry and bland. I may have mentioned that I'm no fan of chicken breast - more a dark-meat kinda guy. In this recipe we'll cut back on the overall cooking time by using canned chickpeas (Channa) and in an upcoming post, I'll show you how to use shrimp instead of chicken.
We're starting the 2015 edition of July's Month Of Grilling with a serious BANG! If you grew up on the islands during my time you'd know that if you served a guest a chicken wing, that would be considered an insult. A nice thick thigh, drumstick or chicken breast (say chicken chest) was expected, to avoid the mumbles and ole talk after. However, for as long as I could remember I had a weakness for chicken wings. Coming to North america where there's this 'wing' culture... let's just say I blame my waistline on these juicy morsels of pure delight!
It's only natural that after posting the Sofrito recipe a while back, I'd have a way for you to put such a classic ingredient to use. Sofrito is basically a seasoning base made in the Spanish speaking Caribbean which is added to enhance the overall flavor of meats, stews, soups and other dishes. In this recipe I'll show you how simple it is to take something as boring as chicken breast and pan roast them on your stove-top for what I believe is the most juicy (and delicious) way to enjoy a part of the chicken notorious for being overly dry and bland.
With the busy lifestyle we tend to live and the fact that more and more students are now reaching out for recipes, I figured I'd share this sort of hack or cheat's way of doing amazing jerk chicken in the oven. Yes, traditionalists will say that you need, smoke, fire and the goodness from pimento wood to really make it "jerk" but when you don't have access to such, you improvise. In under 1 hr I'll have you eating the most juicy, flavorful and tender oven jerk chicken you've ever had. No Lie! Even your Jamaican friends will be asking you for the recipe when you serve this up at that dinner party you've been meaning to have.