happy endings in the kitchen Episode 4: Jerked Chicken

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You can do it baby

You know how some guys really get you down? How some dates and relationships can leave you feeling naked, afraid, and oh so confused? You know how some guys are just those guys? Those guys?

Well then there was Basic Vegan.

Yes, Basic Vegan.  We met in a bedding store.  We were vertical.  He was the salesman and I was the clueless customer.  And while he didn’t make a sale as such he should have been selling charm because he had it in abundance.  He accompanied me out of the store and descended the escalator alongside of me, staying close and attentive.  He remarked on my sparkling smile and compared the summer sun to the brightness of my eyes.  And by the time we were at the bottom of the escalator he had asked for my number and complimented me into a daze of submission.  He was a Jamaican raised in Britain, tall and manly with brooding eyes, had played football professionally, owned lips that looked soft and beddable, had long beautiful fingers, a wicked sense of humour and an unusual imagination, and knew all the right moves on the dance floor. Note: He also ate a strictly basic pH vegan diet (carrots were prohibited), religiously followed the teachings of a quack doctor who claims to have the cure for HIV and cancer, would say hello to passersby but only if they had dark skin, showed up late for everything, said ‘innit’ a lot, believed mucus was the cause of every known disease and cause of death, constantly reminded me of the evil of anything that went into my mouth that wasn’t basic or vegan, and liked to provide commentary and ‘cheer me on’ during intimate moments.

And so it was, something.  And so we started the game of will we or won’t we, a date here and a date there, I’ll show you mine if you show me yours…. 6 weeks of a sort of relationship, innit!  Until….he disappeared.  The night had been planned and the scene had been set. He was to pick me up and take me to his place where he would make us dinner and it would be our very first official sleepover. He’d told me in detail about the romance that was to come on the phone that day and I’d eaten it all up.  And thoughts of those promises kept me warm while I waited alone in the cold on a Saturday night, for at least the first 15 minutes anyhow.  One hour passed.  No call was answered.  No text was acknowledged.  Perhaps basic Vegan had eaten a carrot and been hospitalised?  Or perhaps he had met a girl with eyes as sparkling as the ocean?   Or maybe he had sneezed and been caught in a volcanic eruption of his own mucus and couldn’t swim his way out.  Whatever the case I was left with a very bad taste in my mouth.  But I wasn’t going to spend my time grieving over a carrot fearing, bs preaching, pillow talking nutter.  And so, into the kitchen I escape to turn my unrealised Jamaican fantasy into an edible reality.  And yes, I can do it baby.

A taste of Jamaica

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Jamaican Jerked Chicken

Ingredients:

5 pounds chicken thigh pieces
2 cups distilled white vinegar, plus 1 teaspoon
2 cups finely chopped spring onions
1 Habanero or Jalapeño chilli, deseeded
1 red capsicum, hulled
2 tablespoons soy sauce
4 tablespoons fresh lime juice
5 teaspoons ground allspice
2 bay leaves
6 cloves garlic
1 tablespoon salt
2 teaspoons sugar
5 sprigs fresh thyme
1 teaspoon cinnamon

Jamaican Barbecue Sauce:

1 1/4 cups tomato ketchup
1/3 cup soy sauce
3 spring onions, minced
3 cloves garlic, minced
3 tablespoons minced fresh ginger
1/3 cup dark brown sugar
1/3 cup distilled white vinegar
2-3 tablespoons dark rum
2 tablespoons Jerk marinade (reserved from above recipe)
Jamaican hot chilli sauce, to taste

Directions:

Rinse the chicken pieces in the two cups of distilled vinegar.  Once rinsed thoroughly place the pieces in a resealable bag and set aside.

Put the remaining 1 teaspoon vinegar, spring onions, chilli, capsicum, soy sauce, allspice, allspice, bay leaves, garlic, salt, sugar, lime juice, thyme, and cinnamon in a food processor and give it a whizz.  Put aside 2 tablespoons of the marinade for the Barbecue Sauce recipe.

Rinse chicken pieces in cold water and dry off with paper towels. Return the chicken to the resealable bag and add the marinade.  Massage the bag to coat the chicken with the marinade, and refrigerate.  Leave overnight if you can to let the chicken absorb those flavours.

Grill the chicken on a barbecue or grill pan.  Serve with the Jamaican sauce, rice and a fresh salad.

The making of the Sauce:

Put all the ingredients in a saucepan over medium heat and stir until the sugar dissolves.  Reduce the heat and stir over a low heat until the sauce thickens up a little, for 10 to 15 minutes.  Remove from the heat and stir in the rum.  Leave to cool before serving.

There is a reggae working through my body.  Bad taste gone.

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This recipe is an adaptation of Emeril Lagasse’s recipe.

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