Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Jerk Chicken with Mango Salsa

This spicy Jamaican jerk marinaded chicken was my first attempt at any Jamaican cooking.  The marinade comes together easily in the blender and you can easily increase (or decrease!) the heat level as much as you want to suit your pallet.

Traditionally, jerk seasoning or marinade is made using the habanero or scotch bonnet peppers.  If you are concerned about the level of heat these peppers pack - swap them out for less fiery jalapeno or serrano peppers!

The recipe makes enough marinade for 4 chicken breasts and would work well on pork tenderloin or chicken drumsticks as well (adjust time accordingly).  I chose to cook the chicken in a frying pan but I think this recipe would truly shine on the BBQ.

We served our chicken with a side of mango salsa.  The sweet salsa contrasted well with the spice of the marinade.  The recipe I used can be found here (I scaled it back to serve 2 people *see note below).

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Quinoa Risotto

Clearly not a true risotto, this quick and healthy side dish substitutes the traditional Arborio rice for the fast-cooking grain, Quinoa.  

This small, high protein, high fiber grain cooks quickly in chicken broth flavoured with lemon, thyme and garlic.  To recreate risotto's familiar creamy texture, cheese is stirred in during the final moments of cooking!

I purchase quinoa at my local supermarket - the brand I buy is the President's Choice Organics brand from Super Store.  I find this brand cooks well - with all the liquid absorbed, and the quinoa maintaining an aldente texture - but you can substitute any brand you wish - even the black or red varieties for interest - just adjust the cooking time if needed.

The entire box of quinoa contains roughly 1 1/3 cups dried quinoa but I had used about 1/3 cup in another recipe so I used the remaining 1 cup here.  I used all the liquid required by the instructions however to further replicate risotto's 'looser' texture.  If you have a full package use that and add about 1/2 cup additional cooking liquid.

I've also used coconut oil to start the recipe here.  Coconut oil has many health benefits but you can use olive oil or butter instead if you wish!