Fire up that grill and spice up that chicken, 21 Day Fix style! ‘Tis the season!
Some like it hot… how about you? I know, spiciness is pretty subjective. What’s steam-out-of-your-ears-hot to one person, can be mild to the next. That’s why it’s so great to make your own spicy food. YOU have the control. YOU have the pooowwweeerrr!!! Did you imagine my great, booming voice just there? Sorry about that, sometimes I get carried away.
Prior to working on this recipe, I had little to no experience with jerk chicken. Except for the eating part. I totally had that down. Not to brag, but I’m a really good eater, just sayin’. Anyway, our first summer spent here in Louisville we discovered a jerk chicken food truck called Jam Pan and have basically been in love ever since. I’m pretty sure a good food truck is just about the best thing ever. Side note: Most grocery stores carry jerk marinades and we have tried several. Not only are they not Fix-approved (generally high in sodium), they’re unsurprisingly not all that jerk-like either (though they’re still pretty tasty, to be fair).
Speaking of marinades, let’s talk about this one! This isn’t your mama’s marinade. It’s actually more of a paste that you’re going to rub into your chicken and let hang out in the fridge for at least six hours or overnight. It’s awesome because it soaks into the chicken and it sticks to it, so essentially it’s a freaking flavor bomb. You’re welcome. Btw, I’m a big proponent of going the overnight route for two reasons:
- Being able to make something ahead is kind of the best (am I right, my preppers?!). In this case all you’ll have to do is throw it on the grill the next day and since it only takes about 20 minutes or so to cook, that makes for a pretty quick dinner!
- More time = more flavor = happy bellies all around 🙂
A little note about the habaneros: First off, traditionally scotch bonnet peppers would be used here, but I couldn’t find any near me, so habaneros are the next best thing. Second, I used two in this recipe and it’s got a pretty decent kick, but I’ve definitely seen other recipes use more. When you’re processing your marinade, add one at a time until you get it just a little hotter than you’d want it. The cooking process will mellow out the pepper just a bit.
The mango salsa is also super-quick and can be made the night before when you make the marinade as well. Or you could make it at the last minute, whatever floats your boat. The sweet mango really helps to cool off the spicy chicken just enough. Don’t worry, you’ll still get plenty of heat! If you want to learn a bit about the buying, keeping and preparing of fresh mango, check out my Cardamom Chia Seed Pudding with Mango post where I get into the nitty gritty of that delicious fruit. If fresh mangoes aren’t available where you are, go ahead and check your freezer section! The beauty of mangoes is that they’re basically the only fruit (that I know of anyway) that freezes and thaws ridiculously well. Once frozen mango has been thawed, you could probably fool folks into thinking that it was fresh. Try it, I dare you!
At this point in the post, I might mention if my kids liked this or not or what you can do to make a particular dish kid friendly. Um… I won’t be doing that today. My kiddos definitely can’t take the heat (constantly inspecting their food for specks of black pepper) and in my opinion, it just isn’t jerk chicken unless you HAVE to have a big glass of water next to you, if you get my drift. When we make this dish, I just season up a couple of pieces of chicken for them, usually just with a light amount of salt and whatever herbs I have on hand and they’re happy little campers. Easy!
Hope you guys love this one, it’s such a great way to bring a ton of flavor to otherwise boring chicken breasts!
If you make this recipe be sure to snap a pic and tag me @thefoodieandthefix on Instagram so I can check it out! It makes me ridiculously happy to see what you guys are making 🙂
Recipe adapted from theguardian.com.