Thursday, September 3, 2009

Jerk Chicken, Plantains and Broccoli

Tonight we had only a vague meal plan in place: chicken, broccoli, and plantains. But taking the plantains as inspiration, Dan thought it would be good to spice the chicken up with Caribbean flavors.

I went online and began searching, landing upon a Jerk Chicken recipe on Diana's Kitchen. Using part of her recipe as a guide, I mixed up a Jerk seasoning that I used as a dry rub for the chicken.

Jerk Seasoning Mix
1 tablespoon Ground allspice
1 tablespoon Dried thyme
1 1/2 teaspoons Cayenne pepper
1 1/2 teaspoons Freshly ground black pepper
1 1/2 teaspoons chopped sage
3/4 teaspoon Ground nutmeg
3/4 teaspoon Ground cinnamon
2 tablespoons Garlic powder
1 Tbspn onion powder
1 tablespoon Sugar
1 tspn salt

I started with two 1/2 lb chicken breasts, and pounded them out flat into paillards. Flatting out chicken breasts is a great way to trick yourself into eating less by making it seem like more food, a great way to get more surface area for rub to connect with, and it makes the thickness of the chicken more even and thinner, so you can cook it for less time.

Since we didn't have time to marinade the chicken, I put the chicken paillards into a big mixing bowl, and dumped all the seasoning mix on top, then tossed the chicken around to make sure every inch of the surface was coated. I cooked them in a skillet for about 5 minutes on each side and then we each had about 2/3 of a breast for dinner, and saved the other 1/3 for lunch tomorrow.

While I was abusing the chicken, Dan blanched some broccoli in boiling water for a couple minutes, then shocked it in an ice bath to stop the cooking. When everything else was ready, I tossed the broccoli into the skillet to heat them back up.

Based on this Recipezaar entry, he also peeled two plantains, cut them into 1/2 inch slices, spread them on a baking sheet, drizzled them on both sides with olive oil, sprinkled on some salt, and baked them at 450 degrees F for 15 minutes (flipping them over half-way through cooking). They turned out golden and crisp on the outside, and soft on the inside - like a tostone, but without all the fat.

Everything turned out great, which was especially rewarding since we were kinda winging it. The chicken was definitely spicy, in the way that builds up as you eat so that your mouth starts to burn a little halfway through the meal. The broccoli ended up beautiful and bright green, and looked very pretty on the plate next to the golden brown and yellow plantains and the reddish brown chicken. We both agreed this meal is going to be one we make again and again.

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