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I’m a jerk

March 3, 2009

scotch-bonnetIf it’s true what they say ‘you are what you eat’ then I am a bonafide jerk. 
I purchased a bottle of homemade authentic jamaican jerk sauce from a friend at work and oh my god it is good! I ordered the ‘hot’ version because, as you’ve probably heard, I love my spicy food. We marinated some boneless skinless chicken breasts and left it to marinade for 2 days (unintentionally). I was worried it would be too spicy (hard to believe I would worry about such a thing). No fretting necessary.
As soon as the meat hit the grill (indoor, unfortunately! can’t wait for BBQ season!) that lovely peppery aroma wafted up into the air. My stomach rumbled in response. And it tastes even better than it smells!. Trust me, there will be many more posts of recipes with this sauce come BBQ season. The countdown begins!
I tried to press my friend for what was the secret behind her husbands magical recipe, but like a good wife her lips were sealed! All she would say was scotch bonnet peppers and allspice, of course. 
I decided to try the jerk out on a recipe I found in another of my favorite cooking tomes ‘Food and Drink‘ magazine (bonus: it’s free through the LCBO!). The recipe was for Jerk Chicken Pizza w/ Pineapple Salsa. I purchased a round of frozen Pizza Dough from St. Lawrence Market in Toronto. Unfortunately I can’t remember the name of the place or exactly where it was located, but I can tell you it was somewhere on the main floor. Next time I go (trust, there will be a next time) I’ll be sure to mark it down.
Steve (my loyal food tester and husband) said it was the BEST pizza he’s ever had. 
Here’s the recipe: (shortened version for prepared pizza dough) 

CHICKEN3 skinless chicken breasts
1-2 tbsp jerk sauce
SALSA1 398 ml can crushed pineapple
2 tbsp cornstarch
1 clove garlic, minced
1 1/2 tsp (7 ml) freshly squeezed lime or lemon juice
1 – 2 tsp jerk sauce
1/4 tsp salt
PIZZA1 sweet red pepper
1-2 jalepenos
1 lb pizza dough (prepared)
3 cups cubed mozzarella cheese
1 cup thinly sliced red onion
1 cup cooked black beans
1/4 cup chopped fresh coriander or parsley
cucumber slices

1. Coat chicken breasts with 1-2 tbsp jerk sasuce. Cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours or up to 1 day.

2. To make salsa, stir undrained pineapple with cornstarch in a small saucepan, stir in garlic. Cook over medium heat, stirring often, for 8 to 10 minutes or until hot, bubbly and thickened. Remove from heat. Stir in lime juice, 1-2 tsps jerk sauce and and salt. Meanwhile, seed and finely dice half of red peeper; thinly slice remainder and set aside for topping pizza. Seed and mince jalepeno peppers; stir into hot salsa along with sweet red pepper dice. Cool to room temperature.

3. Grill chicken breasts or saute in a little oil over medium heat, 6-7 minutes per side, or until browned and just firm to the touch. Cool then shred.

4. Arrange oven racks with one on lowest level and one just above oven centre.

5. Preheat oven to 475F.

6. Spread dough with pineapple salsa. Scatter evenly with chicken; then top with cheese cubes, remaining red pepper and red onion slices. Scatter with black beans, if using.

7. Place dough on lowest rack. Bake 5-10 minutes. Use a spatula to turn up one corner of the dough to check for browning. When nicely browned, move pizza to top rack for 5-8 minutes or until top is golden. Scatter coriander over top of hot pizza. 


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