I’ve had Bob Marley tunes in my head all day long, so tonight’s tea seems very apt. The food of the Caribbean is a beautiful thing indeed, and we don’t eat enough of it in this house for sure. Well, certainly not in the latter months anyhow. A good jerk can be enjoyed all year round, however. Incidentally, check out my  ‘Brown Chicken Stew’ if you get a spare minute, a great Jamaican winter warmer. 

We found this classic jerk marinade courtesy of my favourite cookbook in existence ‘The Barbeque! Bible’ by the great Steven Raichlen. It works well with both chicken thighs and pork loin steaks. However, this time we gave shoulder steaks a go with the aim of giving them a longer cooking time and a crispier coating. We served it with some rice and peas, with a tangy homemade tomato sauce on the side – both inspired by Levi Roots recipes from his book ‘Caribbean Food Made Easy’. You can find all the relevant ingredients lists and methods in the publications mentioned above.  

To make our version of these dishes (serves two generously) you will need:

For the jerk pork:

– 700g of pork shoulder steaks 

– One dried chilli (chopped)

– A bunch of spring onions (trimmed and chopped)

– Half a large onion (peeled/chopped)

– Two cloves of garlic (peeled)

– One tablespoon of fresh ginger (peeled/grated)

– One tablespoon of tomato ketchup

– One teaspoon of dried thyme 

– One and a half teaspoons of allspice

– Two tablespoons of sunflower oil

– Two tablespoons of light soy sauce 

– Juice of one and half limes 

– One tablespoon of light brown sugar 

– One and a half teaspoons of salt (or to taste)

– One teaspoon of black pepper 

– Hot sauce to taste 

Method:

– Put all the above ingredients (apart from the meat) in a food processor and blitz until it becomes a paste. 

– Put the meat in a dish and coat thoroughly with the marinade. Cover and refrigerate for two days (or as long as possible).

– Grill for around twenty five minutes or until completely cooked through and crisp (roughly twelve minutes each side).

For the rice and peas:

– 220g of basmati rice

– One can of black beans (drained)

– Two dried chillies

– One teaspoon of allspice

– A pinch of dried thyme 

– One clove of garlic (peeled)

– Half an onion (peeled/roughly chopped)

– 30g of butter

– Salt and black pepper to taste 

Method:

– Wash the rice thoroughly until the water runs clear and soak for half an hour. 

– Put all of the ingredients into a large pan of water (apart from the rice), bring to the boil and simmer for fifteen minutes.

– Drain the rice and add it to the pan of simmering water, season again, bring to the boil then cook for another fifteen minutes (or to your liking but don’t stir it!)

– Fish out the garlic and the chillies, then immediately. 

For the tomato sauce:

– One can of chopped tomatoes 

– One 3cm piece of fresh ginger (peeled/chopped)

– Quarter of a clove of garlic (peeled/finely chopped)

– One dried chilli (chopped)

– Two spring onions (green part only/chopped)

– A teaspoon  of grated nutmeg

– Three quarters of a teaspoon of  ground allspice 

– Three quarters of a teaspoon of ground cinnamon 

– Two tablespoons of demerara sugar or to taste

– Juice of a lime

– One teaspoon of salt 

Method:

– Put all of the ingredients into a food processor and blend until smooth. 

– Season to taste and add more lime or sugar as required. 

– Put into a saucepan and simmer  for five minutes. Season to taste again and serve. It will keep covered in the fridge for up to a week too (once cooled). 

The clue is in the title of my post, but this combination of flavours certainly has a kick behind it. The tomato sauce brings a wonderful sweetness to the plate in contrast to the rice, along with some extra heat! We have decided that pork shoulder is definitely the best cut to use as it gives a lovely crisp coating, soaking up the aromas and bursting with jerk goodness. A taste of Jamaica in the fall…love it. 

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