A Treasured Recipe
Some recipes are made only once and then forgotten while others become so well-loved that the cookbook pages fall open right to that page and food stains help dogear the edges. The latter description is how this Caribbean chicken recipe is for my family. I cut the recipe out of a magazine after I had fallen in love with Jamaican Jerk Chicken on a trip there years ago.
For a long time I made the recipe to a tee, including only grilling it and making it on skewers. While that way is delicious, it’s time consuming and works best just in the summer. Then I decided to make things easier and try it in the oven. The results were just as delicious and much easier, so this has become a go-to meal that we eat at least once a month as a family.
It also works great for company! Everything can be diced and stored ahead of time. Since it re-heats well, it would be a good make-ahead meal to bring to a friend or church member who may need a meal for medical or maternity leave. Kids love it because it calls for sugar or honey, and my son approves and asks for helping after helping. (Note: some kids prefer the taste of raw fruits or vegetables. If there’s kids at your table you may want to leave some of the produce plain and raw, separately of course from any raw chicken for food safety).
Many options to mix it up
While the original recipe calls for pineapple, I’ve also successfully used mango, fried banana and grilled peaches or nectarines to complement the Caribbean spices. Since it’s still prime season, I chose to use the delicious nectarines I had on hand, and I wasn’t disappointed! For the grilled peaches, I make them on a grill pan on my stovetop, but you could equally use a sauté pan or a grill.
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 tablespoons soy sauce
- 2 tablespoons brown sugar or honey
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon thyme
- ¼ teaspoon ground allspice
- ½ teaspoon crushed red pepper (optional)
- 1 packet Italian dressing mix or:
- 1 tablespoon garlic powder
- 1 tablespoon onion powder
- 2 tablespoons oregano
- 1 teaspoon black pepper
- 1 teaspoon dried basil
- 1 teaspoon dried parsley
- (Optional: 1 tablespoon sugar and 1 tablespoon salt, but I usually omit this)
- 3 colorful Bell peppers
- 2 large red or white sweet onions
- 4 boneless chicken breasts
- 3 peaches or nectarines (or 1 pineapple, 2 mangoes, or 5 fried bananas)Rice (1/3 to ½ cup per person)
- Preheat oven to 350. Dice up the peppers and onions and add to an oiled baking dish. Dice the chicken breasts and add to a separate oiled baking dish.
- Make the marinade by mixing all spice ingredients with olive oil, soy sauce and brown sugar/honey. Add ½ the marinade to each dish. Bake approximately 20-30 minutes, stirring half way through until the chicken reaches an internal temperature of 165 and the peppers and onions are just beginning to get soft. If you are using pineapple instead of peaches, I recommend baking them with the peppers and onions. I cook the chicken separately to ensure that all pieces reach a safe cooking temperature and because the chicken can cook faster or slower than the vegetables, depending on a number of factors.
- Cook rice according to package instructions.
- For the grilled peaches, if cooking on a grill, just cut them in half, oil them and cook, face down on medium high approximately 5 minutes. If cooking on a grill or sauté pan, slice them into ⅛ size strips, oil them and sauté on medium high 2-3 minutes per side.