There is an awful lot of talk these days about the future of the lime and whether or not it will be around in the future. This terrifies me as without lines, chillies, coriander and mint I may as well hang up my knife kit now. my main response to this is to use them as best as I can while they are here. Namely mainlining margaritas and making Jerk Chicken.
Jerk, in my opinion is the ultimate goal to which all limes aspire. This incredible combination of fruity scotch bonnets, zingy pimento berries , tacky brown sugar and warm cloves is brought to a whole other world with the addition of that electric green zest and banging juice. The Caribbean cuisine is all about fire cooking, attitude and chilled out vibes.
Jerk paste doused on plump chicken legs over a boucan grill is enough to send me into a Walking Dead state of single minded desire for meat.
Who knows how long the lime has until it shuffles off it’s mortal coil. Don’t insult it in it’s final days. Give it the send off it needs. The send off it wants. Make Jerk.
Well,… either that or the mainlining margaritas thing.
5 chicken legs,
4 Cloves of garlic,
2″ Piece of Ginger
2 Whole Scotch bonnet Chillies
4 Spring Onions
1 tsp Black Pepper
1 tbs Salt
1 tbs Dried Chilli Flakes
2 tbs Jerk Seasoning
2 tbs Sunflower oil
2 tbs Brown Sugar
-Preheat your oven to 180 degrees
-Take out your chicken legs and with a very sharp knife score three slashes across each thigh and drumstick.
-The Jerk Paste is the key to this dish so that’s what I’m going to focus on here. You can either use a food processor to combine all of the ingredients or if you don’t have one, just finely chop all of them.
-Start by dicing up the garlic, spring onions and the scotch bonnets. Leave the seeds in if you are looking for something with a serious kick.
-Next measure in your dry ingredients, the Jerk seasoning, chilli flakes, black pepper, salt and brown sugar.
-Finally go in with the brown sugar and the zest and juice of the limes.
-Blend everything together adding the sunflower oil in a little at a time until you have a thin paste consistency. Think pesto.
-Now that your paste is ready to go, start to rub it into the legs.
-You can leave them to marinate overnight if you can or you can just get straight into it.
-Get a large, heavy based pan onto a high heat. Fry each leg, skin side down for about 5/6 minutes and then flip them over for another 5/6 minutes. This may take a few batches.
-Once they have started to brown and crisp up, place each of the legs, skin side up into a large baking tray.
-When you have all of the legs ready and into the baking tray, pop it into the pre-heated oven for about twenty minutes.
-Check the meat at the middle of the thigh, next to the bone after 15 minutes. If it is still pink, leave them in for the remaining five minutes.
-When they come out they can be paired with any sides you like. In the photo above I had a little Pineapple and cucumber salsa, rice & peas and grilled potato skins. Jerk chicken goes with so many things. Try it out and let me know how you get on.