I’m beginning to think that the act of planning game day food is an American ritual. I’ll admit that I’m not terribly good at following what’s going on in the world of football, basketball, or other major televised sports. But I can easily follow the food fun associated with game day.
I pay attention to the game day food buzz mostly to think about how I can transform or reincarnate favorite finger and party food so they’re healthy (or healthier). You might think this takes the fun and flavor out of it. This recipe for Jamaican jerk chicken may change that notion.
I made this for friends last month and then made it again a few more times just to nail the recipe. And while I have made jerk chicken strips in the past, this recipe is a more authentic version of Jamaican jerk chicken, which I’ve always anticipated to be dark, spicy, and popping with flavor.
The sides in the photo are creamy coleslaw using carrots, scallions, celery, and Napa cabbage, along with my favorite ranch dressing which appears in my forthcoming book.
You’ll want to marinade the chicken pieces for at least 4 hours, or as long as 24 hours. Also, I use chicken drummettes (in the picture) which are cut from the full wing. You can probably request that the butcher cut these for you, or try cutting them yourself. Or use other chicken pieces. If you use full wings, you can break them apart after they come out of the oven (and are cooled a bit).
Finally here are some other game food ideas to consider…
Jamaican Jerk ChickenYou can grill the chicken pieces or bake them in the oven. I prefer them from the oven, but both ways work well. Also, I tend to turn down the heat, but if you can handle heat increase the cayenne pepper up to 1/2 teaspoon. I’m able to buy a large pack of drumlettes, however you can request that the butcher cut these for you, or cut them yourself. Or just use other chicken pieces. If you use full wings, you can break them apart after they come out of the oven (and are cooled a bit). To cut chicken wings, cut the tip off of each wing and discard or save it for stock. With your hands break the wing at the joint so it’s easy to cut the wing into two pieces. Slice the wing in half and you now have two pieces: wing and drumlette.
- 2 cups finely chopped scallion (about 5 green onions)
- 1 1/2 teaspoons dried thyme
- 2 garlic cloves, chopped
- 1/8 teaspoon of cayenne pepper (optional, or to taste)
- 2 teaspoons ground allspice
- 2 teaspoons ground dry mustard
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon of salt
- 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
- 2 tablespoons of honey (or maple syrup, coconut palm sugar, or other sweetener)
- 4 pounds of chicken drummettes (or other chicken pieces), with the skin
- Chop up the scallions, garlic, and thyme in a food processor, or chop finely by hand with a knife.
- Combine all the remaining ingredients (except the chicken pieces) in a bowl and blend well to create the marinade.
- Combine the chicken pieces and the marinade and store in the refrigerator for several hours, or up to 24 hours.
- Prepare baking sheets with parchment paper or a non-stick lining, orgenerously grease the baking sheets. If you’re grilling the chicken, just skip the rest of the steps and grill the chicken pieces in a medium heat grill.
- Preheat oven to 400°F/200°C and bake for 15 minutes.
- Change the oven to 500°F/260°C (or the broil setting) and bake for another 15 minutes, or until the chicken pieces are blackened.