Before Steve, our bathroom remodeler, decided to go for the big bucks he, a graduate of C.I.A., worked as a chef at Breezes Resort in Runaway Bay, Jamaica. When he told me this, of course, I asked about Jamaican cuisine. I have tasted Jamaican meat pies and once attended a very good lunch hosted by Jamaican friends, but have never attempted to make anything myself. We discussed Jamaican jerk rubs and the next day, he brought his own spice mix over for me to try.
Today I added rum, vinegar and olive oil to Steve’s spices, rubbed a spatchcocked chicken with the mixture, then put it in the refrigerator to mature overnight. I remembered that the Jamaican friends served their meal with roti, a homemade flatbread and, not wanting to try two new things, decided to make Jamie’s Navajo flat bread to accompany the chicken, perhaps wrapping pieces of the jerked chicken inside of the bread.
But wait! Wouldn’t that be kind of dry? I needed a sauce, salsa or something. Cranberry chutney to the rescue. I made this chutney in Germany and it was a big hit with the family. With more enthusiasm than I’ve shown since coming to the States, I whipped up a batch of chutney, thinly sliced some leftover char sui pork, layered some on toast, topped it with chutney and handed samples to Steve and my husband. Good. I should make another batch to have on hand for the random open faced sandwich 🙂
As I was preparing to spatchcock the chicken, a chicken neck and assorted giblets tumbled out onto the counter, and that’s when I realized that it had been years since I bought a chicken that included the giblets and neck! The French chicken butchers must keep those for themselves because you don’t get them unless you buy a specialty chicken like Bresse chicken. Such riches! Instinctively, I tossed the giblets and neck in a pot with water, carrots, celery, onion and bay leaf, then boiled. After a decent period of time, I removed the meat from the neck bone, chopped the giblets and returned them to the pot along with a cup of orzo pasta.
Okay, tomorrow the chicken will be jerked and we shall take the measure of Steve’s Jamaican experience 🙂
2 tbsp olive oil
12 fresh sage leaves
2 purple onions, sliced into thin wedges
1 cup of cranraisins, soaked in hot water for 20 minutes and drained
1 cinnamon stick, broken in half
2-3 tbsp water
1 tsp fresh ginger, grated
3 tbsp balsamic vinegar
Flash fry the sage leaves in the olive oil, then remove and set aside. Add the onions to the pan and saute for 5 minutes. Add the cranraisins, cinnamon and water, then simmer for 15 minutes. Add the ginger and vinegar, then cook for about 1 minute. Serve warm or room temperature.