Not a total jerk


Okay. How about we get right to it.

My month of March new recipe was going to be Jamaican jerk chicken. In preparation for this unique concoction, I ordered a food processor from Amazon Prime. My free 2-day shipping got it to me in one day. An auspicious beginning to be sure!

I had made up my mind, going through the various recipes on the net, that I wanted to do this with skinless/boneless chicken breasts. While there is surely no one more than me who appreciates (and devours) a crisp skin of a barbecued bird (or oven, in the case of turkey), I opted for healthier fare.

Of course, this is not the most common preparation of jerk chicken so it took me a while and a mish-mashing of recipes to get me where I needed to be. Finally comfortable with the basic prescription, I went out to my “go-to” store for meats: Penn Dutch.

I’m sure I’ve mentioned before how dangerous Penn Dutch is for me. It’s a meat lover’s orgy and I was thankful for my singular focus, for it saved me picking up the lamb chops and St. Louis ribs as well.

Although, I still couldn’t resist the sausage and shrimp (for jambalaya) and more chicken breasts (for chicken Parmesan and chicken fried rice) and pork chops because, well, do you ever need a reason to have pork chops (grilling, baby!).

Oh, and the smoked cheddar cheese and the porterhouse steak was on sale and there was this large package of napoleans…

Ahem. Anyway, I got my stuff, making sure I overbought on the spicy vegetables (green onions, Habanero peppers, white onions and fresh garlic). Now set, my only concern was whether my trunk would be dragging on the road as I drove home.

Funny diversion – The cashier checking me out was – you guessed it – Jamaican. We had a nice chat about how to prepare and cook jerk chicken (she preferred thighs, on the grill) and she was a little worried for me because I chose the thin filets of chicken breast, but I told her I was doing the oven thing, not the grill. I wish I had met her before I decided on my recipe because hers sounded pretty tasty!

So, now I had all my stuff and I looked at what was ahead of me and thought I might just wait until the next day when I remembered it was trash pick up day. If I wanted all those smelly things out of my kitchen trash before they started reeking, I better hit the counter.

Squeezing the limes was surprisingly the biggest challenge. They were sort of small for my regular juicer but my hand juicer was not liking them much either. I stuck with my mini-Cuisinart juicer and did okay.

After trimming and dousing the chicken, I moved on to the veggies and spices. After cutting everything up to reasonable size (quartered onions, halved peppers), I plopped the stuff in the food processor and turned the button.

Great Googly Moogly! It was like I blinked and it was done. In actual time, it might have been about 45 seconds, but that’s only because it scared me into stopping once or twice. Holy cow, have times changed from my old salad shooter days!

Now, with marinade paste all done, all that was left was leaving the chicken to saturate. The recipe I had said two hours, but then I thought of just plain waiting until dinner, giving it a good 5-6 hours.

From there, I cooked it like I would any boneless/skinless dish – in a flat pan, open, with a stop or two in between to ladle on some more marinade.

Finally, the dish was done, pre-cut into nice bite sized chunks. Good thing, too, since each bite (smothered in marinade) numbed my lips and seared the inside of my mouth. I was a little worried at the green color and wondered if it was going to be hot enough…no worries on that score.

My conclusions from this effort are (1) I think I’ll make it even hotter next time (heh) and (2) I think I’ll go traditional and get a cut up chicken and grill the son of a gun.

In other words, I’m looking to be a total jerk about it next time.

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