Mixed Nation Dishes: Jerk Chicken & Pasta
Food is synonymous with heritage, culture and identity. Recipes can be passed along through generations of families and are reminiscent of your roots. Exploring culture through cuisine is one way to explore various cultures and see the differences and similarities between us all.
Over the years, fusion cuisine has become popular; mixing up spices and ingredients from various countries to bring exciting new flavors together in unison. We love infusing our everyday food with a flare of spice! Here is a great recipe that is easy to make for the family that brings together Jamaican and Italian flavors in a classic and simple way:
It’s best to prepare the jerk chicken ahead of time.
- 2 boneless chicken breasts, skin on
- 1/2 cup lime juice
- 1/2 cup malt vinegar
- 2 Scotch bonnet peppers, with seeds, chopped
- 4 green onion tops, chopped
- 1 Tbsp dried thyme or 2 Tbsp fresh thyme leaves, chopped
- 2 Tbsp olive oil
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
- 4 teaspoons ground allspice
- 4 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- 4 teaspoons ground nutmeg
- 4 teaspoons ground ginger
- 2 teaspoons molasses
In a food processor add in the above ingredients and pulse until well blended. Score the chicken in a criss-cross pattern to allow the marinade to sink in. In a large, ziploc bag, add the marinade and chicken. Make sure the chicken is thoroughly covered in the marinade. Let the chicken sit overnight in the fridge – up to 24 hours. Reserve 1 cup to be used for the pasta sauce.
Pre-heat your grill to medium-high, toss on the chicken and reduce to medium heat. Grill the chicken for 25 minutes, turning sides evenly. Grill until fully cooked through with adequate grill marks.
- 1 bag bowtie or penne pasta (or, pasta noodle of your choice)
- 1 cup jerk marinade
- half cup toasted pine nuts
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
Put a dry skillet over medium-low heat and toss in the pine nuts until lightly golden brown – they can burn easily, so keep a close eye. Cook the pasta until it reaches the desired firmness (10-12 minutes). While the pasta is cooking, in a food processor, add in the jerk marinade, olive oil and lightly toasted pine nuts. Pulse until smooth. If the mix is too dry, add more olive oil.
Drain the pasta, and add it back into the large pot. Add in the jerk marinade, and toss evenly. On a large plate, add the pasta mixture and top it with freshly grilled chicken. You can garnish this meal with a handful of freshly chopped cilantro or parsley.
Et voila! A beautiful, spicy mixture of two wonderful cuisines. This is a meal the whole family can enjoy!
What are some of your favourite family dishes?