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! Chili is made on the regular in our home, from the traditional beef, to using spicy sausages, turkey and in this case.. we’ll be using some leftover jerk chicken we had on hand in the fridge.
4 cups chopped jerk chicken
2 cans diced tomatoes
2 stalks celery
2 med onions
3 cloves garlic
2 tablespoon chopped parsley
2 tablespoon chopped cilantro
1 can kidney beans (drained and rinsed)
2 cups sliced mushrooms (optional)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 scotch bonnet pepper (no seeds)
1 package chili powder (about 2 tablespoon)
1-2 tablespoon olive oil
IMPORTANT: If doing this recipe gluten free, be sure to go through the entire list of ingredients to ensure they meet with your specific gluten free dietary needs.
Wash, chop and prep all the vegetables. Then heat the oil in a deep pot (try to use a solid pot) on med heat and go in with the diced onion, garlic, celery and black pepper. Lower the heat to low and allow this to cook for about 4-6 minutes. This will soften up everything and start that flavor base we’re looking for.
With the heat still on low, add the chili powder (pre-packaged stuff is goo enough) and stir well. Cook for another 3 minutes to awaken all the spices in the chili powder mix. Then go in with the diced carrots, mushrooms (yea, I use anything I could find in the fridge) and scotch bonnet pepper (for heat). Stir well, then go in with all the other ingredients – raise the heat to bring to a boil.
Basically I took all the meat off the jerk chicken legs I had and added it to the pot.
Reduce the heat (after it comes to a boil), put the lid on and let it simmer for about 70 minutes. You can start this in a pot, then pour it into a slow cooker and have it go on low for a few hours while you do your everyday routine.
The bits of jerk chicken (especially if you did them on a coals fire) will add a lovely (unique) smoky flavor to the chili and the ‘jerk’ marinade will be a lovely undertone. Taste for salt (adjust accordingly) and near the end, go in with the chopped cilantro.
This is a lovely dish for those cold winter nights (well if you’re like me and based in a country with winters) and feel free to play with other ingredients in the chili to personalize it a bit. Serve with some grated cheddar and a tablespoon of sour cream!