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Inspired by Carnival? You NEED to try Ainsley Harriott's jerk chicken recipe

Cure those Caribbean cravings...

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August 23, 2019
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Whether your missing Notting Hill Carnival this weekend and need to get your Carribean fix, or you simply want to warm up those taste buds before the festivities, Ainsley Harriott has you covered. The Ready Steady Cook presenter's Ultimate Jerk Chicken is the perfect dish to cook up this bank holiday weekend and satisfy all your Carribean cravings - we'll leave the dancing to you.


Having grown up cooking on the beach in Jamaica, Carribean chef Ainsley Harriott takes us back to his roots on a culinary voyage of the Caribbean with a flavourful Jerk Chicken. "Jerking is all about maximising flavour. The great thing about jerk cooking is that you can use either a dry rub or a wet marinade, which means you can use the wonderful flavours in a variety of dishes, from meat and fish to vegetables and grains. Traditionally, the mix includes allspice and Scotch bonnet chillies, but the spices can be adapted to taste. Here’s my ultimate jerk marinade with spatchcock chicken. If you prefer, you can use four chicken breasts with the skin on and cook on the barbecue for 15-20 minutes."


• 1 x 1.5kg/3¼lb chicken, backbone removed and spatchcocked (ask your butcher to do this)

• Mixed salad or coleslaw, to serve For the jerk marinade

• 225g/8oz onions, peeled and quartered • 2 small Scotch bonnet chillies, halved and deseeded

• 50g/2oz fresh root ginger, peeled and roughly chopped

• 3cm/1¼in piece of fresh turmeric root, peeled and roughly chopped (or use 1 tbsp ground turmeric)

• ½ tsp ground allspice • 15g/½oz fresh thyme leaves

• 125ml/4½fl oz white wine vinegar

• 125ml/4½fl oz dark soy sauce • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

Ainsleys Ultimate Jerk Chicken


1. First, make the marinade. Place all the ingredients except the seasoning in a food processor and pulse until smooth. Season with a little salt and a generous grinding of black pepper.

2. Cut slashes in the smooth side of the spatchcocked chicken so that the marinade can penetrate. Place in a shallow dish. Pour over the marinade and rub well into the meat. Cover and chill for at 2-3 hours, preferably overnight, turning every now and then.

3. Preheat a barbecue with a lid. Take the chicken out of the fridge to come up to room temperature.

4. Cook the chicken on the rungs with the barbecue lid down for 40-50 minutes, turning occasionally and basting with any leftover marinade, until the juices run clear when the thickest part of the thigh is pierced with a thin metal skewer.

5. Remove the chicken from the heat and rest for a few minutes. Serve with a mixed salad or coleslaw

Let your tastebuds travel the Caribbean islands with Ainsley’s new book of more than 80 recipes, from roti wraps and cornbread muffins to cocktails. Ainsley’s Caribbean Kitchen by Ainsley Harriott (Ebury Press, £20). Follow Ainsley at @ainsleyfoods.

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