How fun is it when you get a peek into the life of one of your favorite actors, musicians, teachers, or fill in the blank with someone you admire? Even better when you can “share” a delicious meal with them, like this recipe for jerk chicken from musician Ziggy Marley!
I’m a fan of the musical Marleys — Bob Marley, Ziggy Marley, Damian Marley — so I was amped when the folks from AARP The Magazine contacted me to share Ziggy’s (Mr. Marley’s?) recipe for jerk chicken.
AARP included his recipe in its publication last month, and now I’m sharing it here. In the feature Ziggy notes, “After Friday-night dances when I was a teenager in Jamaica, jerk chicken kept the party going late into the evening.”
He says, “Driving home after a night out, we’d stop at a place by the side of the road. Men had fashioned grills out of oil drums. They smothered the chicken with a spicy rub.”
Sounds a little like my college days, except we’d stop for gyros sold from street carts on the side of the road. During the winter in Ohio, we’d hustle from the car to the carts and back to the car again since the temps could be brutal!
We’d devour the gyros in the car and, inevitably, someone would spill some gyro fillings. Of course this wouldn’t be discovered until the next day, when the stench of misplaced onions hit you like a wall as you opened your car door. Fun times!
Thinking back to the good old days has me craving a street cart gyro! Not exactly the same, but these Greek nachos with tzatziki sauce are a fun treat with similar flavors.
Ziggy’s jerk chicken recipe calls for Scotch bonnet peppers (h-o-t!) as part of the rub, but I used habanero peppers instead – still hot, but more manageable for me. If you love peppers and you’re looking for a great appetizer, try this recipe for blistered shishito peppers with smoky paprika aioli. They’re so fun to snack on!
I have learned my lesson when cooking with hot peppers, and I was sure to wear gloves when removing the seeds and membrane from these habaneros. My eyes watered a bit as I cut them, but the rub for the chicken turned out delicious and easy to enjoy (delicious served with a cold beer)!
This recipe is really easy to make and there are so many great flavors included in the rub. Serve this chicken with lemon slices to squeeze over the top of the chicken. It adds a bright flavor to the dish.
I really liked a final thought in the article: “The garden is the foundation of my cooking,” says Ziggy. “I grow lots of things: tomatoes, beans, rosemary and peppers. If you can grow it yourself, grow it yourself — it’s very fresh, very natural. Growing something on your own helps you appreciate it more.”
I hope you’ll try recipe for jerk chicken. Put on some reggae music and enjoy!
Yields Serves 6
- 1 whole chicken, cut into pieces
- 3 habanero peppers, seeds and membrane removed (I suggest wearing food-grade gloves when cutting them)
- 4 garlic cloves
- 1 tablespoon salt
- 1 teaspoon black pepper, freshly ground
- 1 teaspoon allspice
- 1 teaspoon nutmeg
- 1-1/2 teaspoons dried thyme
- 1 teaspoon fresh thyme
- 1/2 cup scallions, chopped
- 1 tablespoon coconut oil
- 1 lemon, sliced into 4 to 6 pieces, for garnish
- Preheat your grill to medium-high heat.
- Add the peppers, garlic, salt, black pepper, allspice, nutmeg, dried and fresh thyme, scallions, and coconut oil to a food processor. Blend to form a paste.
- Use your hands (I suggest wearing food-grade gloves to put the rub on the chicken) to smooth the paste over booth sides of the pieces of chicken.
- Grill the chicken pieces over medium-high heat for approximately 10 minutes on each side, or until thoroughly cooked.
- Serve with lemon slices as garnish.