July 23, 2016 — Birthday Party
‘Jerk Marinade reminds me of hustle and bustle of the vibrant stalls at Notting Hill Carnival. Big tasty flavours, immersed in the smoke, with the sizzling of meat on BBQ’s and towers of rice and peas. But, it’s also just as good in the comfort of your own home with friends, and family! Check out this easy recipe from Dad, and impress everyone with your BBQ Jerk marinade skills!’
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1 kilo pork steak with bone if possible
1 bunch of thyme
Light olive oil
For the jerk marinade
1/2 large onion, chopped
1 bunch of spring onions, trimmed top and tail
1/4 tsp ground clove
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
3 tsp ground allspice
1 tsp salt
1 tbs dark soy sauce
2 tbs dark brown sugar
1 tsp dried thyme
10g fresh thyme
60ml light olive oil
Juice of 1 1/2 limes
1 or 2 scotch bonnet chillies, de-seeded
For the jerk sauce
2 medium onions chopped
2 sticks celery chopped
1 green pepper chopped
1 or 2 red chillies depending on taste and heat of chillies, chopped
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
1 1/2 tsp ground allspice
1 tbs tomato puree
3 tbs dark soy sauce
1 tbs Worcestershire sauce
2 tbs plum sauce
500ml chicken stock
125ml white or red wine
125ml orange juice
1/2 large mango
For the mango and pineapple relish
1/2 large or 1 whole small mango peeled
4cm slice of pineapple peeled and cored
2 spring onions
3 springs fresh thyme
Small bunch fresh basil
1 tsp sugar
1/2 tsp salt
Juice of 1 lime
Light vegetable oil
For the coconut rice
1 medium onion
300g easy cook rice
1 tin of coconut milk (400ml)
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Tastes of the Caribbean…
If you you’ve never tried jerk pork or even jerk – give it a go. We had this on a brilliantly hot day and the spicy tropical flavours are made for sunshine and good times – you might even imagine you are in the Caribbean!
This is where I say: ‘Ahh, when I was in the Caribbean…’
As it happens I have been to the Caribbean. I was a young teenager travelling with my family on a cruise ship. It was a wonderful trip, but like all cruises, most of our time was spent on board. As the ship food was ‘all inclusive’, there was little incentive for the kids to be adventurous with local food. We probably stuck to what we knew – hamburgers and soda. So the great irony was (as far as great culinary ironies can be appreciated by young teenagers) we sailed all around the Caribbean – yet never ate jerk chicken, goat stew, plantains, saltfish, callaloo, cassava – or any other local delicacy – including conch, which we saw being processed by the fishermen of Nassau in The Bahamas.
In those days, I suspect everybody was happy ‘sticking with what they knew’. Whereas now it seems people will go to any lengths to explore unknown ingredients or recipes. The ingredients for a taste of the Caribbean are now available throughout London. With Scotch Bonnet chillies widely available it’s now possible to make an acceptable jerk at home, if passing through Waterloo at lunchtime there are Cuban sandwiches and fried plantain available at The Cubana restaurant and while browsing in Brixton Market it’s possible to buy goat, saltfish, callaloo, and cassava (I’ve yet to find conch in the UK), or when wandering around Portobello Market you’ll find a vast array of other Caribbean specialties, especial jerk chicken cooked on hot coals with rice and peas. With the reggae vibes booming from the sound systems – you might even imagine you were back in the Caribbean!
This was really good. You’ll need a few jerk ingredients (allspice, scotch bonnet chilies, thyme and lime). Jerk is synonymous with chicken; but lamb or pork is also good. The recipe here has many elements – but of course you could simply prepare a jerk marinade for any kind of meat and serve it with heaps of steamed rice and loads of fresh salad.
NB: The meat is from CD Jennings & Sons in Surbiton. They buy their meat as whole carcasses so all the cuts and joints will be sold at the counter. Over time, different cuts shift in and out of popularity; today, the shoulder is in fashion (for slow braises and pulled-pork recipes). This means the leg is now full of excellent value. Ask for thick leg steaks. The only thing to remember with leg of pork is that it’s very lean – so get your barbecue nice and hot and don’t cook any longer than necessary. The little extra care is well worth the trouble – the marinade adds flavour and helps retain juices and the quick hot cooking will keep the meat tender and tasty.
Make the jerk marinade. Put all the ingredients in a blender and blitz until it’s a smooth paste. NB: Scotch bonnets are very hot chillies. You can cut back on these but remember the overall balance of flavours will need some heat. Try putting in one chilli to begin with and taste. Add another if it needs it.
Marinate the pork. Cut the pork into pieces about the size of a chicken thigh. Massage the jerk into the meat and allow to marinate in the fridge for 2 – 4 hours.
Make the Jerk sauce. Put the onion, celery, pepper and chilli into a large sauté pan; pour over a good glug of olive oil and gently fry on medium heat for 15-20 minutes. Add the spices and continue to fry for 5 minutes. Add the wine and let it reduce, then add the tomato puree, plum, soy and Worcestershire sauces and sugar and cook for 5 minutes. Add the stock and mango, cover and simmer for 45 – 60 minutes. Add the thyme 15 minutes before the end of cooking. Using a stick blender blitz until smooth (or cool slightly and transfer to some other type of blender or processor). If desired, push through a strainer for a smoother texture. Taste, season and adjust.
Make the mango and pineapple relish. Chop the fruit into small pieces. Chop the onion finely and put into a bowl and add the salt, sugar and lime. Set aside for 20 minutes to lightly pickle the onion and then add to the fruit and stir. Just before serving, add the chopped herbs and a little oil. (The lime and oil make a dressing for the fruit.) Taste and adjust seasonings.
Make the coconut rice. Chop the onion finely and put into a thick-bottomed pan with lid. Fry gently on a medium heat for 10 minutes. Add the rice and continue to fry for 5 minutes. Meanwhile, put the coconut milk and an additional 275ml water into a pan and bring to a simmer. When the rice has been frying for 5 minutes add the liquid and bring this to the boil quickly – then immediately set at the lowest heat and secure the lid tightly. Cook for 20 minutes and then turn off the heat. Let the rice sit for 15 minutes (without opening the lid – okay, just one small peek to see all is well…). Stir just before serving.
Cook the pork. Get the barbecue ready – it needs to be hot. Scrape off most of the marinade and place the meat on the grills. Scatter over some thyme. Cook the steaks until browned and charred from the grills. Turn over and continue to cook. Press with you tongs to see how soft the meat is inside. Do not let it go firm. Take a piece off to test if necessary. It should still have a slight pink centre. Then take off and place in a dish. Drizzle over some olive oil and cover with foil to rest for a few minutes (where the steaks will continue to cook beyond the pink stage). This is how my pork looked straight off my gas barbecue:
Serve. Serve the pork with rice, lettuce leaves with relish and a wedge of lime. Let people help themselves to the jerk sauce.
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