Saturday, July 23, 2011

Datil Pepper Jerk Chicken

My Jerk Chicken Jones was Jonesing me earlier this week and I was home alone for a few days, so it seemed like the perfect time to experiment.

First, I checked my available ingredients ...

From the garden I was able to gather a handful of possible ingredients.
Please do not picture a Southern Living magazine type garden when I use that term here at PFHQ.
It's more like some hippie permaculture experiment crossed with bubbaquaponics.

It's messy out there.

But things grow ... sorta.

I checked the basic Jerk procedure found in one of my favorite MAN cookbooks, "How To Grill", by Steven Raichlen.

I had most of what I needed, but there would have to be a few substitutions.
This is life.

Above, from left to right:
Datil peppers
Greek oregano

Into the food processor went the fresh stuff listed previously, plus a long list of other ingredients in  Steven Raichlen's recipe.
The original recipe called for Habenero peppers of course, but this is the land of the datil and I have a blue million of them out in the pepper patch right now.

The chicken was "jooked"  with holes to allow marinade to enter, and then marinated in the fridge for the afternoon.
This is not slow, off the heat southern BBQ cooking.
This is grilling on hot coals.
The marinade is a green goo loaded with all the flavors of those fresh herbs plus the off the shelf seasonings from the kitchen pantry.
I savoried up the smoke by tossing some water soaked Allspice berries and leftover fresh herb stems on the hot coals.

Bless this chicken, may he rest in pieces.
It's important to let a piece of meat, hot off the grill, rest a bit before you dig into it.

An easily removable wing says, "I'm ready!"

I'm glad he was ready, because I know I was.

Look Ma!
No French fries, no baked potato loaded with butter and sour cream, no macaroni and cheese ... no high fat and high calorie starchy stuff.

Green carbs and lean protein

(You can skip the following rant by scrolling down to the part where I talk about how the Datil Jerk Chicken actually tasted).


Did you see the report a week or so ago about how the USA is in the top ten list of fattest countries on the planet?
And, the south is the fattest part of the 9th fattest country on the planet?
Just ballparking the figures here, but about 30% of southerners are obese... not a few pounds overweight, but obese.

We do love our fried foods down here.
And sweet tea (which is essentially a flat soda as far as sugar goes)

Toss in a restaurant industry that seems hellbent on creating the cheapest, unhealthiest kitchen creations possible, mix in our bacon greased, pan fried southern traditions,  wash it all down with sweet tea and soda ... and you've got the perfect recipe for a culture of obesity,diabetes, and heart disease.

Oh, and don't forget to be almost completely sedentary ... why, that's the icing on the cake.

(Cake, did someone mention cake?)

Man, I love cake... just not every night.

Statistics like those in the Fat State List sadden me, because I work with kids and I see the situation getting worse, not better.

It's frustrating ... which, I guess, is why I interrupted this food post with a mini-rant.
My apologies.
Let us get back to the healthy and inexpensive meal above ...


So, how was the Datil Jerk Chicken?
How would I improve it?
Up the datils!
 I cautiously used 4 or 5. I think I would up it to about ten for a fiery hot JERK.
(... or maybe, just use them whole without seeding them)

I would also plan ahead so it could marinate longer and allow the Jerk marinade to infiltrate the interior more thoroughly.

Otherwise, I wouldn't change a thing.


Dani said...

Looks wonderful! Most weeknights it's chicken and salad for us too.

Julie Zickefoose said...

First thing I noticed is that you're using a salad plate, not a trough. Second thing was that it's about the size of your hand. Third thing I noticed was that that was not almost a rant; it actually was a rant. Fourth thing was that I am in the habit of nightly ice cream, an easy habit to acquire and a hard one to shake. Thank you, FC. I shall aspire to leanness comparable to thine, even if I never attain it. You see, guests brought three pints of Jeni's superpremium ice cream to dinner tonight. Sweet corn and black raspberry; chili chocolate and honey pistachio. Eleven bucks a pint. Sigh. It's like hooking yourself up to a Jersey teat.
If God didn't want us to be obese, why did He make honey pistachio ice cream?

tai haku said...

I would add to Julie's list of observations that everything on that plate appears to have been derived from either plant or animal without a trip to the factory. Eating plants and animals not reprocessed versions thereof is the key for me.

This time next year I'll hopefully have a few datils to try that recipe but in the meantime it might get a run out with a lesser pepper like a mustard hab or bonnet cos that looks good!

Miz S said...

I work in a primary school in a poor neighbhorhood, and the number of obese 5 and 6 and 7 year olds is positively disheartening. And then I look at the federally funded free school breakfasts...chocolate milk and a sticky bun is a big favorite...AUGGH!

Floridacracker said...

I like fries (crinkle cut rule!)
Personally, I treat them like a treat. I have them once in a great while and then I set aside about half of the oversize serving to take home to Bear.
I like baked potatoes.
I like pasta.
I love rice (brown!)
Hell, I'm eating an apple cider doughnut from Merciers Orchards for breakfast as I type.
Just clarifying that Iam not a food nazi. I just meant the starches are not always necessary for a good meal.
And, yes, I like ice cream! Blue Bell Mocha Almond Fudge ice cream is a too good to keep around the house.

The salad bowl at our house is enormous and multiple trips are made.
It's usually our heirloom Selmo Italian dressing.

I WAS ranting wasn't I? Blame it on late night iced coffee as I studied my chemistry.
It was supposed to be a "Hey, look at the tasty thing I made!" post, but it took a detour.
So, am I reading that right? An ice cream flavored with sweet corn and blackberry?
Is that even possible?

I agree. I should have tossed in processed convenience foods in my evil empire of restaurants and soda companies.
We do fresh food meals almost every night for health, taste, and the creative joy of cooking.
This recipe called for beaucoup habeneros, it must be amazingly hot.

Miz S,
It's heartbreaking to see a young kid who is already so obese and sedentary that you know there is little chance of that ever changing.
When I get them at middle and high school age, those lifestyle habits are already set.

Julie Zickefoose said...

Yes. It is deliciously possible. Jeni's could probably make chicken liver ice cream delicious. However. I am right with you on the rant and on obesity in children which I see all the time here in Appalachia, and which makes my blood boil. Take a perfectly good child, a perfect child, and plug him into McDonald's, and that's what you get. We enjoy entertaining our kids' friends, but the majority of them look at chicken on the bone with fear and loathing, and several parents have warned me that their kids will eat only nuggets. Which aren't chicken, after all, but corn. That gets a big "tough nuts, they'll eat what they're served" from me.
Our turkey vultures will eat everything from the freezer but chicken nuggets. They lie there in state, and not even the coyotes will touch them. Needless to say I don't buy them any more. The Omnivore's Dilemma changed my life.

Floridacracker said...

Ha! We use the tough nuts rule too!
I googled Jeni's out of curiosity.
I accept that it exists, this corn ice cream, but wonder at the thought process that thinks to combine sweet corn and berries in a confection.
It's a perfect example of "Out of the carton" creativity.

Miz S said...

We elementary teachers have a little saying that works at both school and home: "You get what you get and you don't get upset."

Julie Zickefoose said...

Wal, I just dipped into it again and I want to remind you that Jeni's ships. Even to Florida. Dry ice is a wonderful thing. Far be it from me to spoil your caveman diet with a shipment, though. Plus, I'm too cheap for $11/pint ice cream. Not too cheap to eat it, just too cheap to buy it.

Mama Sue said...

Thanks for the great blog!! Chicken looks YUMMY!!

robin andrea said...

Great rant, FC. We had a friend over the other day, and she mentioned that she heard someone is California was proposing to take obese children away from their parents. It's probably not true, but wouldn't it be better if restaurants and food prep places would just stop making EVERYTHING with salt, sugar, and high saturated fats. We used to not eat this way. Our human bodies can't tolerate it. We can eat it and digest it, but that doesn't mean we are nourished by it.

Anyway, it's always nice to see jerky food! Looks delicious. Really. Chicken is the only meat I eat. And yes, may it rest in pieces. Very funny!

Floridacracker said...

Miz S,
I like it! Very succinct.

Cave man diet, snarf!
It is sorta true though.
I'm afraid I don't buy $$ ice cream either, but I am enlightened just by knowing Jeni's exists.

Mama Sue,
Welcome to Pure Florida!
So glad you commented and yes, the chicken was very good!

Yikes, that's a scary thought.
Maybe taking the junk food and the Xbox away from both parents and child would be better!
Poor chickens, it's a curse to be tasty.
They are my main prey too.

Thunder Dave said...

Love the jerk chicken, jerk beef is pretty good too!

Great pics of the humming bird the other day too!

Dani said...

My weakness is the Blue Bell cookies and cream. YUMMY

Evelyn said...

Working hard on removing myself from a statistic on that FL obesity list, completely changing my eating habits. Plant City Strawberries my #1 treat, replacing Starbucks Java Chip Frappacino Ice Cream. Salads rule, as well as fish baked with some kind of vegetable or fruit.
Working in a post-open-heart surgery unit, we are seeing ROUTINELY now patients in their thirties, forties and fifties having bypasses. I have always thought of them as the McDonald's Generation paying their dues.

Floridacracker said...


Oh yes, I can see how that could be a bit addicting.

Welcome to Pure Florida!
More power to ya on that great goal.
You see the aftermath in your profession. Thank you for the work you do!

Prem Subrahmanyam said...

The only thing I would change is the addition of a few small oak branches to add a smoky oak flavor to the whole thing.


Floridacracker said...

Who could argue with that?
Great advice.

roger said...

that is a good looking meal. i'll try it. good rant too.