Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Cooking up a Caribbean Feast: Jerk Chicken and Conch Fritters

Ah, the Scotch Bonnet. What a name for a pepper. I bought 5 or 6 recently and pureed them in my blender with a host of other easily procured ingreidents and made a rather killer Jamaican jerk sauce. At least I'm pretty sure they were Scotch Bonnets. The SB bears a striking resemblance to the habanero, tho they are a different, hotter pepper. The peppers I bought were labeled habaneros but I really think they were Scotch Bonnets on account of them looking more like little squash. Habaneros are more teardrop shaped. They are, as the unsaid saying goes, hotter than snot.

I marinated skinless split chicken breasts overnite in the sauce and then grilled them. Pretty scrumptious stuff. It's hot, don't get me wrong, but tolerable. Here's what I did:

Jamaican Jerk Sauce
Print recipe only here

1/3 cup ground allspice
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
8 garlic cloves
4 to 6 Scotch bonnet peppers (sub habaneros in a pinch)
1 tablespoon ground thyme or 2 tablespoons thyme leaves
2 bunches green onions, trimmed ad chopped
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
Salt and pepper to taste

Puree everything in a blender. Marinate chicken overnite in the sauce. Grill and enjoy.

For a well-rounded Caribbean feast, I'd serve these with conch fritters. Just don't ask me where to source conch. I'm still on the hunt. Try substituting calamari, shrimp or crab if you cannot get conch.

Conch Fritters
Print recipe only here


canola oil, for frying

½ cup all-purpose flour
1 ½ t baking powder
1 egg
½ cup milk
ground cayenne pepper, to taste
1 cup chopped conch
½ onion, finely chopped
½ red bell pepper, finely chopped
2 T fresh parsley, finely chopped
Salt and pepper


Heat the oil in large pot to 365F. Traditional deep frying would dictate using 2-3 inches of oil. I just use 1/4 cup at a time and make more patty-shaped fritters.

In a small bowl combine the flour and baking powder.

In a large bowl, whisk together the egg and milk. Mix in the conch meat, onion, and red pepper. Fold in the flour/baking powder. Season with salt and pepper.

Drop the batter by rounded tablespoons into the hot oil and fry until golden brown. You could use a small ice cream scoop if you have one (much smaller than the average ice cream scoop size).

Remove with a slotted spoon and drain on paper towels.

Season with another sprinkle of salt.

In a bowl, combine all the ingredients for the Chipotle dipping sauce.

Serve dipping sauce on the side with the fritters.

2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
2 T mayonnaise
2 T sour cream
1 chipotle pepper, minced
1-2 T adobo sauce (from the chipotle pepper)
Salt and pepper to taste

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