As winter settles in, I’m trying to remain focused on the few cold-weather activities I actually enjoy– namely, roasting things, making hot drinks, and baking cookies. (Don’t even try to get me excited about skiing, snowboarding, or sledding. I’ll just meet up with you in the lodge for some hot chocolate when you’re done freezing your nose and toes on the frigid slopes.)
There is one other winter activity I enjoy, though, and that is going on Caribbean vacations. I don’t have the money for a trip anywhere warm this year, but Ben and I had an amazing time in Jamaica year before last. Today we relived some of those good times by eating this paleo roasted jerk chicken with carrots and potatoes. It’s no trip to the islands, but it does taste really good.
So, whether or not you’re jetting to the Caribbean this winter, I hope you make this Jamaican jerk chicken! (And if you are flying to the islands, PLEASE take me with you. I’m not sure how many more four pm sunsets I can stand…)
- 6 scallions, trimmed and coarsely chopped
- 1-2 habanero peppers, deseeded and coarsely chopped (wear gloves when handling the peppers!)
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 1 Mejdool date, pitted and soaked in hot water for ten minutes
- 1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves (or 1½ teaspoons dried thyme)
- 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- 1½ teaspoons ground allspice
- ½ teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1½ teaspoons sea salt
- 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- To make the jerk seasoning, combine all ingredients in a blender and process until a paste forms. If your blender is weak like mine, add water a tablespoon at a time as needed to facilitate blending (I used two tablespoons). You can make the jerk seasoning a day or two ahead and store it in a jar in the refrigerator.
- Preheat the oven to 450°F. Heat the ghee or coconut oil in a very large ovenproof skillet over medium-high heat. Add the chicken legs, skin side down, and sear for about 8 minutes, or until the skin is a nice golden brown. While the chicken is searing, sprinkle about half the salt and pepper on the meaty side of the legs. Flip the chicken over, sprinkle the remaining salt and pepper on top, and sear until well-browned on the second side, about 6 minutes. Transfer the chicken to a plate.
- Reduce the heat a bit and add the potatoes, carrots, and shallots to the pan. Stir well and use a spatula to scrape up all the browned bits from the bottom of the pan, mixing them in with the vegetables. Cover the pan and let the vegetables cook for five minutes, stirring once about halfway through.
- Check to make sure the chicken is cool enough to handle, and then rub the jerk seasoning all over it. Nestle the chicken legs skin side up in the pan amongst the vegetables, and pour in any juices that accumulated on the plate and any extra jerk seasoning.
- Transfer the skillet to the oven and roast uncovered for about 20 minutes, or until the chicken is cooked through (a meat thermometer inserted into the thigh should measure 165°F.)
- Let the chicken rest for five minutes, and then serve hot with the vegetables.