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Jerk Chicken (or Tofu!)

Notes: I love jerk foods and use this recipe in all my jerk cooking classes. There are different marinades you can use, but I prefer the wet marinade because it is versatile and works best with tofu if any of my guests want a vegetarian option. This recipe serves four to five people, depending on appetites. 😉

Jerk Marinade…
This recipe is taken from Helen Willinsky’s book Jerk. The flavor of the marinade may strike you as a bit harsh when you first make it, but the flavor mellows as the meat cooks. You can adjust the heat of the marinade by adding more or less) pepper.

1 Onion, finely chopped
½ Cup scallions, finely chopped
2 Teaspoons fresh thyme
1 Teaspoon salt
2 Teaspoons sugar
1 Teaspoon ground pimento (allspice)
½ Teaspoon ground nutmeg
½ Teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 Hot pepper
2 Cloves of garlic
1 Teaspoon ground black pepper
3 Tablespoons soy sauce
¼ Cup cooking oil
1 Tablespoon vinegar (cider or white)

Place at the ingredients in a food processor fitted with the steel blade and process until everything is well combined. Store the left over marinade in the refrigerator in a tightly closed jar for about 1 month.

Rub the spice on your meat or tofu. Use the rub sparingly until you’ve figured out how spicy your rub is. Store the leftover marinade in an airtight container for about one month.

Preparing the meat…
Working with one whole three pound chicken, rub the marinade on your choice of meat whether pork or chicken. Use the marinade sparingly until you’ve figured out how spicy your marinade is. Store the leftover marinade in an airtight container for about one month.

OR Preparing the Tofu…
Use x pounds of tofu. Open and drain the tofu and cut it into slices about ½ an inch thick. Let it marinade for at least an hour in the Jerk Marinade.

After it has been marinaded, remove most of the marinade and pan fry the tofu.

Remove the tofu from the pan and sauté a sliced onion and 1 bell pepper. When the bell pepper and the onion get soft in the pan, return the tofu with the marinade and let it cook for 10 minutes. Voilà! Jerk tofu!

Pineapple Salsa…
This salsa is so simple, but it is perfect compliment to jerk pork or chicken and works with tofu as well. I challenge anyone to argue differently. That said, if you are feeling lazy, just slice some pineapple and grill it as a simpler substitue.

¾ Cup Pineapple, finely diced
¼ Cup red onion, finely chopped
2 ½ Teaspoons fresh lime juice
1 Jalapeno, finely diced
½ Cup cilantro, coarsely chopped

In a medium bowl, combine the pineapple, red onion, jalapeno and lime juice. Toss to combine. Add cilantro, cover, and let flavors combine.