I should start this by saying my home version of Jerk
Chicken is different from the street-food, hot and crisp
, that I've eaten in Jamaica straight out of what looks like a metal barrel on its side. Well, it would be different, wouldn't it? It's not that I haven't tried to replicate the recipe, using whole quarters of chicken, with the bone still in and the skin still on, but it hasn't felt right. A domestic oven just doesn't get hot enough, and so although the spiced chili crust
gets gratifyingly crisp, the skin doesn't - it can't - and flabby skin is just not to be countenanced. Thus, although the vinegary, limey, rum and spiced marinade
makes the meat lusciously tender, you have to jettison its outer casing
entirely. This seems too much of a waste to me.
Now, you will rarely find me suggesting breast meat, let alone a breast fillet
, so you have to believe me when I say that the heat of the marinade, and the meat's edible carapace work best when offset against the meltingly tender white meat within. And, in turn, I must say that I have never managed to make, or find, white meat that turns out so luscious and succulent. It's a miracle all round. I'm stunned, but grateful. I have nothing to add, save the suggestion that you could consider working the same magic with some lean pork tenderloin
Don't cook this, though, unless you like it hot. And I mean hot. There's no point choosing to cook this and then trying to find a way to tame it, say by taking out the seeds from the chili (though you could if you must). Besides, although it packs a major punch
, the sweet, creamy, coconutty rice that just must be served with it, offers the perfect counterbalancing salve.