My god, it’s been a crappy few days.  I’m not talking petty irritants, I’m talking “are you freaking KIDDING me” kind of bad. On Saturday, I blew up our microwave (I blame Heloise).  I followed the directions to a T … and yet, the mister and I ended up spending HOURS cleaning up glass from an exploded Pyrex measuring cup.  Did you know that Pyrex could completely blow apart like something out of a Michael Mann movie?  Oh, it’s true – and mine went for distance – about 20 feet from kitchen to living room.  No, no one was hurt – and yes, I did get a nifty new microwave out of the deal.  But, it’s still a pain.

The truly crappy thing has been our sweet Wondermutt has been poorly over the last few days.  Is there anything worse than having a sick dog?  They’re not well and they know it but don’t understand why or what’s going on.  It just breaks my heart.  We’re hopeful for a recovery – it just remains to be seen if it will be a full recovery.

And the weather has been blustery and cold.  On the positive side, at least we haven’t been buried in snow like we were this time last year.  But, still – it’s that biting cold that gets down the back of your neck, no matter how wooly your scarf.

So, when life is getting you down, what do you need (besides a drink)??  A taste of summer!  Something with spice to get your endorphins going is always good.  And there is something about jerk chicken that just fits the bill.  It’s easy and it’s flexible – if you want to fire up the grill, it works on that but it’s equally good baked in the oven.  This recipe is my take on Jamie’s take on Levi Root’s Jerk Chicken.  So, even though it’s a second generation kind of dish, it’s still my favorite jerk recipe to date.

Jamaican Jerk Chicken

  • 1 Tbsp black peppercorns
  • 1 Tbsp allspice berries
  • 1 Tbsp chilli flakes
  • 1/2 Tbsp dark brown sugar
  • 2 Tbsp honey
  • olive oil (about 4-5 Tbsp)
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 2 red chillies, trimmed and deseeded, roughly chopped
  • 1 thumb-size piece of ginger, peeled and roughly chopped
  • 3 spring onions, roughly chopped
  • fist full of cilantro
  • juice of 2 limes
  • 4 chicken breasts

Put everything but the chicken breasts into a blender and puree.  Check for consistancy – it should be thick enough to coat the chicken, but not too thick – adjust with olive oil.  Pour the lot into a zippy bag and add the chicken, then just the marinade into the chicken and let it sit for at least 4-6 hours if not overnight.  Cook in a 400 F oven for 20-30 minutes, depending on the thickness of your chicken breast.  Serve with black beans and rice, a good squeeze of lime and a sprinkling of some cilantro … and a Red Stripe!