The Gallivanting Gourmand
Greg Duncan
Greg Duncan
is a freelance writer based in the Montreal region. He is particularly keen about good food. In his day job, Greg is the executive director of the Quebec Community Newspapers Association.

His previous columns are archived HERE.

Posted 03.24.03


Spicy Chicken revs up the heat

Can't afford one of those all-inclusive vacations? You are not alone. We have got to make the best of what has turned out to be a pretty miserable winter here on Montreal's West Island when we really would prefer to be basking in the heat of the West Indies.

When I was young I had the opportunity to travel to Trinidad and Tobago and perhaps that is where I first developed a taste for hot and spicy foods. To this day, I still have cravings that will not be satisfied until I get some fiery stuff into my tummy. I have enough hot sauces in my pantry to open my own specialty store and when I'm in the mood, which is often, I choose one and start cooking.

The following recipe is pretty authentic and if you really want to push the envelope, you can serve this great chicken dish with a good dollop of Matouks hot pepper sauce on the side. This classic West Indian sauce is available at major stores now and can be found in the ethnic food section. Any Jamaican hot sauce will do but I like this brand and was introduced to it while in Trinidad. It comes in mild, medium, and hot but it's safe to say that all three versions pack a lot of heat.

You may want to consider serving a cool cucumber salad with a yogurt-based dressing on the side to cool your tongue between bites. A good bottled dressing will do just fine if you are in a hurry. Ranch dressing always does the trick and small, cut-up vegetables such as carrots and celery make for easy dipping while you munch away on the chicken.

I also like to serve cold beer with this dish. Iced tea is an appropriate alternative but, somehow, beer seems better. Serve this chicken with steamed white rice and all will be well as you covet your neighbor's tan.

Jamaican jerk chicken

6 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves - cut into chunks
4 limes, juiced
1 cup water
2 teaspoons ground allspice
1/2-teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon brown sugar
2 teaspoons dried thyme
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1 1/2 tps. ground black pepper
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 onions, chopped
1 1/2 cups chopped green onions
6 cloves garlic, chopped
2 Habanero (Scotch Bonnet) peppers, chopped

Directions: Place chicken in a medium bowl. Cover with lime juice and water. Set aside.

In a blender or food processor, place allspice, nutmeg, salt, brown sugar, thyme, ginger, black pepper and vegetable oil. Blend well, and then mix in onions, green onions, garlic and Habanero peppers until almost smooth.

Pour the blended marinade mixture into bowl with chicken. Cover and marinate in the refrigerator at least two hours.

Preheat 375-degree oven and place chicken in a roasting pan. Turn frequently, basting often with remaining marinade mixture. Cook about one hour or until juices run clear when pricked with a knife. Any fresh chili peppers can be substituted if you can't find the habaneros. Small Thai bird peppers will do but habaneros are available at most stores. Ask the grocer to help you locate them if you don't know what they look like. Some grocers may know them as Scotch Bonnets.