So – confession. I had no idea what “jerking a chicken” involves, and whilst it has always sounded HILARIOUS, growing up in the cultural hotpot that is Malaysia, Caribbean cooking unfortunately didn’t feature (unlike most other cuisines).
I had a piece of Jerk Chicken at the Notting Hill Carnival one year, and wasn’t impressed – it was dry and bitter. I’m told this is the risk of buying food at Carnival – you have to know where the good places are.
In any event, my colleague V is a massive Jerk Chicken fan, so I decided to give it another go, EAT style. And, well, you’ll see the result. For those, like me, who need a starting point, this is how you jerk a chicken:
The jerk sauce is actually traditionally a dry rub that is famous for being extremely spicy. At a minimum, the spicing includes scotch bonnet peppers, among the hottest in the world, and allspice. Most cooks also include shallots, cloves, cinnamon, thyme, nutmeg, pepper, and a variety of other ingredients to taste.
Description: “Our homage to the fantastic Jerk chicken. A coconut soup with shredded chicken and black eyed beans flavoured with all spice, cinnamon, nutmeg, fennel and plenty of chilli. Garnished with rice.” This is a fair description of what was in the dish. Read on for taste.
Health: 436 calories including a phenomenal 18g of fat (the Coconut’s fault?), this thing is high on everything – carbs (nearly 50g), protein (21g), sugars (10g), and thanks to the beans does OK on the fibre front too (4g). As with all Eat soups, salt is applied liberally – 2.2g.
Taste: Well, it tastes good and helped me recover from my experience at Carnival. BUT… it’s not particularly spicy (“plenty of chilli” my shiny metal ass…), the creamy saltiness dominates and – in a blind taste test you’d be excused for confusing it with the other Bold soup on sale today, Chicken pot pie. But that’s being excessively critical – the end result is very eatable, chock full of big chunks of perfectly stewed chicken, potatoes and beans, the mild heat is pleasant and the texture and consistency is moreish and filling.
Full-o-meter: Oh y eah, with rice as a garnish and my (unnnecessary but still delicious) accompanying roll, I should be full up for the afternoon.
Make it yourself?: I gather making jerk chicken is messy and time consuming, but maybe if V brings in leftovers one day…