Saturday, November 8, 2014

Caribbean Jerk Marinade

I've made it often before and taken it to family dinners. So, at my brother's request, I'm posting it now. I could give you a 'from scratch' recipe (sugar, salt, onion, red pepper flakes, allspice, thyme, turmeric...) but there are good, premixed jerk seasonings available in the spice aisle at most supermarkets. There are also prepared jerk marinades (liquid, in jars/bottles). My favorite--and what I've brought to family dinners--is McCormick brand dry spice, but others will work too.  I mix it up like this:

2 Tbls McCormick Caribbean Jerk Seasoning
1 Tbls oil
2 Tbls vinegar
2 Tbls brown sugar
1 Tbls soy sauce

1 to 2  lbs of chicken, pork, beef or seafood
1 or 2 15-oz cans of Dole Tropical Mixed Fruit
     (or fresh, diced tropical fruits of your choice)

The meat can be diced or left to cook in whole portions. Place meat in a single layer in a 9x13 casserole dish. Combine all of the ingredients for the marinade. Pour over meat. This can be cooked immediately, but ideally it should marinate 2-4 hours before cooking.

Just before cooking, add tropical fruits. Adding the juice (optional) stretches the marinade, and dilutes and sweetens it. To include flavor without thinning, add 1 tablespoon of corn starch to the cold juice from each can of tropical fruit before pouring it over the meat.

Cover with foil; cook (350°) until the meat is cooked through. (45 min to an hour? depends on thickness of the meat). If marinade/juice is too thin – or there’s too much liquid – uncover for all or part of the cooking time.

My Culinary Arts students cooked up a Caribbean feast (for my World Literature students, when we were in our Caribbean Literature unit)...including jerk chicken with tropical fruit. We diced the chicken -- it can serve more people in small pieces -- but I often leave the chicken as whole breasts, thighs, or tenders.

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