February 14, 2012 at 2:11 pm
by Heather Eng
I hadn’t slow cooked for a few weeks, since I’d been eating through my reserves of frozen lasagna and chili. But once my freezer was almost empty, I decided it was time to plug in the slow cooker again–and make something exceptionally delicious.
Inspiration came in a Chow.com e-mail newsletter. It included a link to a slow cooker recipes slideshow that I quickly flipped through. Once I saw their Pulled Jerk Chicken Sandwiches recipe, I knew Collin and I would be making Jamaican-style chicken in our crock-pot this weekend.
First we mixed cinnamon, allspice, salt, nutmeg, pepper and cayenne and rubbed it over chicken thighs. Then, Collin browned the chicken over medium-heat. (Yes, last week I posted that you can skip the browning step in most slow cooker recipes without compromising the flavor. But in this case, Collin felt it was necessary to “sear in the spices”–so it’s your judgment call!)
Then, we blended a delicious-smelling marinade using cinnamon, allspice, nutmeg, lemon juice, molasses, apple cider vinegar, orange juice, soy sauce, peppercorns, garlic, scallions, cilantro, thyme, ginger, serrano pepper and chili pepper. (Whew!)
We poured it over the chicken in the slow cooker bowl and set it to cook on LOW.
After four hours, the meat was falling apart. We’d used a mix of boneless and bone-in thighs, so Collin shredded the chicken and extracted the bones. Then, we served up the chicken with fresh bread and sliced pineapple. The meal was delicious. The chicken had a deep, sweet but savory flavor and the pineapple was the perfect complement. Our dinner felt refreshingly tropical–a nice contrast to the freezing cold outside.
Slow Cooker Jerk Chicken (slightly adapted from Chow’s Pulled Jerk Chicken Sandwiches recipe)
Makes: 8 servings
Prep: 30 minutes
Slow Cook: 4 hours on LOW
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 teaspoons plus 1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
2 teaspoons salt
1 1/2 teaspoons plus 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon ground pepper
1/4 teaspoon cayenne
2.5 pounds skinless chicken thighs
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/3 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
1/3 cup blackstrap molasses (We used blackstrap, despite the recipe advising against it.)
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
1/4 cup orange juice
1/4 cup soy sauce
5 garlic cloves, minced
3 scallions, thinly sliced
1 cup cilantro, chopped
1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme
1 3-inch piece fresh ginger, peeled and sliced into 1/4-inch rounds
1 serrano pepper, chopped
1 red chili pepper, chopped
1. Whisk together 1 tablespoon cinnamon, 2 teaspoons allspice, 2 teaspoons salt, 1 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg, 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg, ground pepper and cayenne. Rub over chicken. Heat olive oil over medium heat and brown chicken. Once all chicken is browned, place in slow cooker bowl.
2. In a large bowl, stir together remaining cinnamon, allspice, nutmeg, lemon juice, molasses, apple cider vinegar, orange juice, soy sauce, peppercorns, garlic, scallions, cilantro, thyme, ginger, serrano pepper and chili pepper. Pour over chicken in slow cooker bowl. Cover and cook on LOW for 4 hours.
3. Shred chicken (we did it right in the slow cooker bowl). Serve with fresh bread and sliced pineapple.
Readers, I’m looking for more good chicken recipes. Got any to recommend? Let me know in the comments below.