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  • Bettina Applewhite

Most Flavorful Jerk Chicken

During my corona quarantine, I have tried to travel through food as much as possible. When it started getting hot, all I wanted to do was be on a beach, getting a tan, and drinking an umbrella drink. The best I could do was make some island meals.

I'm a water girl. I like being around the water and listening to the waves and swimming and feeling the water all around me. It's like I can become part of this powerful object. That's what I miss about being able to travel during the quarantine. I haven't gone as far as trying to figure out the first place I'll go when it's safe to freely move around, but I hope that some water is around.

On this trip to the islands I made callaloo to go with my jerk chicken. Callaloo is a type of green leafy vegetable usually found in the Islands. Now during the Corona quarantine shutdown, I wasn't able to find callaloo greens so I substituted for a mix of Swiss chard, kale, and mustard greens. It was actually quite yummy. I sauteed the greens in onions, garlic, tomatoes, and habanero peppers. If this isn't something that you've tried and you're trying to get creative in adding more greens to your diet, this is a recipe to try.

This jerk chicken was awesome! It's so flavorful. I expected it to be super spicy with all the habanero peppers. It wasn't. It just had a lingering spiciness but mostly I found the seasoning to be wonderfully flavorful. But be careful because I'm used to spicy flavor so my palate may be a little biased. If you're a little bashful with the spice, you can cut back on the peppers to one or two.

Usually I will make this Jamaican meal with rice and peas or plantains. It was so easy to just snack and eat during the quarantine that I tried my best to be conscious of what I was eating. So I kept this meal low carb and paired it with avocado. Yummy! So good! Glad I did because I would have eaten a whole pot of rice and peas to go with these delicious party chicken wings.

In this recipe I used party wings which are chicken wings that have been split into 2 pieces and the tips removed. This is a great option for fun parties where people are moving around. You can use the same marinade for bigger chicken pieces like the breast or leg or a whole #spatchcocked chicken. Really, this marinade is great on fish and shrimp too. This recipe makes enough marinade for a couple of meals so feel free to experiment.

Jerk Chicken

Serves 4 - 6


3 lbs Party Wings

5 Scallions, Chopped

5 - 6 Springs fresh Thyme

2 tsp Salt

1/2 tsp Black Pepper

5 Tbsp Brown Sugar

2 tsp Allspice

1 tsp Nutmeg

1 tsp Cinnamon

4 - 7 Scotch Bonnet Pepper (depending on spice level you want)

1/3 Cup Soy Sauce

2 Tbsp Canola Oil

1/4 Cup White Vinegar

Zest & Juice 1 Lime

1 tsp Fresh Ginger

3 - 4 cloves garlic, minced


1. Combine all ingredients except the chicken in a food processor. Blend until mixed well. Will make about 1 1/2 cups of marinade. Marinade can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 1 month.

2. Use 1/2 cup of marinade for the 3 lbs of chicken wings. Marinate in a plastic bag overnight. Massage marinade over chicken to fully cover.

3. Once ready to cook, bring chicken to room temperature. Chicken can be grilled on indirect heat over a hot grill for 30 minutes turning halfway through cooking or in a 400 degree preheated oven for 30 - 35 minutes. Enjoy!



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