Being a big fan of spicy food, of course Jerk Chicken is on my radar as something to try. However, it’s a pretty intimidating thing to try. Like a mole sauce, it has a lot of ingredients, a wide variety of flavors, and a lot of different versions (all of them claiming to be “the best!”). It’s also typically cooked for a long time over a flame. But when I saw this recipe on Baker’s Royale for jerk chicken made in a slow cooker, I thought I’d give it a shot. I liked that even though the majority of the cooking was done in the slow cooker, it finished under the broiler to get that somewhat charred, delicious crispy skin. It turned out to be extremely flavorful, although my batch was also extremely spicy. One thing I would definitely change is to not use the split chicken breasts at all and just stick to chicken thighs. The breasts turned out unforgivably dry (as breasts are wont to do). My husband and I generally prefer thigh meat anyway.
8 chicken thighs (skin on, bone in) or 4 thighs, 2 split chicken breasts
½ cup vegetable oil
3 habanero chilies, de-stemmed
1 (1-inch) fresh ginger, peeled and sliced
2 tablespoons molasses
6 garlic cloves, peeled
1 tablespoon fresh thyme
2 teaspoons allspice
1/2 teaspoon cardamom
2 teaspoon coarse salt
lime wedges for serving
If you don’t like things really, really spicy, I suggest seeding them and maybe only using one or two. You could also sub in jalapeno. In your food processor or blender, mix up all the ingredients except the chicken and lime wedges until they are blended into a sort of puree or sauce. Put your chicken into the slow cooker and spread half of the puree on it, reserving the other half for basting. Cook the chicken on low for 4-6 hours until it’s tender. I did it for 5 hours, which was maybe a bit long and could explain why my breasts were so dry.
Move your oven rack about 10 inches away from the broiler and turn the broiler on high. Line a baking sheet with foil, and put a wire rack on top of that. Place your chicken skin side down on the wire rack, and baste the other side with half the remaining puree. Cook for about 10-15 minutes, until this side is a little charred and crispy. Flip the chicken over and baste with the rest of the puree, and then cook another 5-10 minutes until this side is also lightly charred and crispy. Then serve with some lime wedges, which can help cut down the spiciness if it’s too much for you.