Jerk Roast Chicken Recipe. The 1940s and 50s saw a huge wave of immigration from the West Indies to London, after the British Government advertised for foreign workers to help rebuild the country following the Second World War. Jamaican jerk chicken is now as popular as fish and chips or pie and mash, and with good reason – its combination of mouth-blasting spice, sweetness and salt is irresistible. Here, I’ve given the classic British roast chicken a jerk makeover, with another famous Jamaican dish, rice and peas, making a guest appearance as stuffing. If you can’t get hold of Scotch bonnet chillies, use three or four long red chillies instead. This is good served with roasted sweet potatoes and greens.
1 whole chicken (about 1.8kg)
4 large sprigs of fresh thyme
For the jerk marinade
5 spring onions, white and green parts, roughly chopped
2 shallots, roughly chopped
3 garlic cloves
thumb-sized knob of fresh ginger
2–3 Scotch bonnet chillies (include the seeds for extra spiciness)
½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves
1 tablespoon ground allspice
2 tablespoons soft dark brown sugar
2 tablespoons dark soy sauce
grated zest and juice of 2 limes
freshly ground black pepper
For the stuffing
100g long-grain rice
2 spring onions, white and green parts, finely chopped
2 sprigs of fresh thyme
200ml coconut milk
200g can kidney beans, drained and rinsed
Put all the ingredients for the marinade into a food processor or blender, along with a generous grinding of fresh black pepper. Whizz until you have a thick purée.
Put the chicken in a close-fitting tray. Using a sharp knife, make a few slashes in the chicken, including the legs, and rub the marinade all over. This is easiest done with your hands, but Scotch bonnets are incredibly hot, so make sure you don’t touch your eyes. Use your fingers to loosen the skin from the breast a little and push some of the marinade underneath. Cover with foil and refrigerate for at least 6 hours, or overnight.
Preheat the oven to 200°C/180°C Fan/Gas Mark 6. Put the rice, spring onions and thyme sprigs in a medium saucepan and add the coconut milk along with 50ml of water. Stir and bring to the boil. Cover, reduce the heat to low and cook for 15–20 minutes, until the rice is tender. Stir in the kidney beans and cook for a further 2–3 minutes.
Stuff the rice into the chicken’s cavity. Cover the chicken with foil again and roast for 70 minutes, then remove the foil and baste the chicken with any juices that have collected in the pan. Cook for another 20–30 minutes, until the bird is a gorgeous crispy brown and the juices run clear from the thickest part when pierced with a knife. Leave to rest, covered, for at least 10 minutes before carving.
Made in London by Leah Hyslop is published by Absolute Press ($45.00) Out now!