Jerk Chicken with Jamaican Rice and Peas

At this time last year, Brent and I were fortunate enough to visit Jamaica. There were way too many good things packed into that vacation to mention here. I challenged myself by going snorkeling (I’m not the strongest swimmer,) I dipped my toes into the Caribbean Sea for the first time, and we made a ton of great memories.

When people find out that we stayed on a resort (thank you, Sandals Ochi!) one of the first things they want to hear about is the food. It was great! Was all of it 5-star or Michelin Star worthy? No. Some of it was, definitely. But the best meals didn’t come from the fancy restaurants. The best meals were the poolside pizza and everything that came from The Jerk Shack (chicken, pork, and sausages). Not exactly Michelin Star, but some of the best in my books.

Once we were back at home, I tried many pre-made jerk mixes trying to get that taste back. Unfortunately, none of them came close. This recipe, though, takes me right back to that beach and is full of all the flavours I so vividly remember.

I wish I could go back to Jamaica again and again and again, but reality does call. Still, this Caribbean recipe lets me do it right here in our Canadian home any time I want. And for that, I’m very happy. So, this one is dedicated to Jamaica and all of the beautiful, friendly people there. Thank you all for giving me one of the best times of my life! Yahman!

Ingredients for the chicken:

1 medium onion, coarsely chopped

3 medium green onions, coarsely chopped

3 Scotch bonnet chiles, chopped

3 garlic cloves, chopped

1 tablespoon five-spice powder

1 tablespoon allspice

1 tablespoon coarsely ground black pepper

1 teaspoon dried thyme

1 teaspoon nutmeg, freshly grated

1 teaspoon kosher sale

1/2 cup soy sauce

2 tablespoons vegetable oil

10 chicken drumstick

Ingredients for the rice and peas:

3 tablespoons unsalted butter

3 cloves garlic, finely minced

1 small onion, finely chopped

1 teaspoon dried thyme

1 teaspoon allspice

1 large fresh bay leaf

1 Scotch bonnet chili

1 19-ounce can red kidney beans, rinsed and drained

1 400-ml can coconut milk

1 cup water

1 teaspoon salt

2 cups long grain white rice


1.) Make the marinade for the chicken. Combine the onion, green onions, Scotch bonnets, garlic, five spice, allspice, pepper, thyme, nutmeg, and salt in a food processor. Process until the mixture is coarse. Combine the soy sauce and oil in a measuring glass and in a slow, steady stream, pour into food processor while it’s running until you have a thick marinade. Place chicken drumsticks into a large resealable bag and pour marinade over top. Massage slightly to make sure marinade entirely covers chicken. Marinade for at least six hours, and up to overnight.

2.) When ready to start cooking, begin with the rice. Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.

3.) In a large ovenproof pot, melt butter over medium-high heat. Add onion and sweat it lightly until it is translucent. Add garlic, thyme, allspice, bay leaf, and whole Scotch bonnet. Cook for 30 seconds while stirring.

4.) Add coconut milk, water, kidney beans, and rice and stir. Once bubbles start forming at the surface, cover and place in the oven. Bake for 40 minutes.

5.) Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil for easy cleanup. Spray foil with non-stick spray. Remove chicken from marinade and place drumsticks on the baking sheet, with plenty of space between them. Brush additional marinade onto drumsticks to make sure they are fully coated. Place chicken into the oven and cook for 45 – 60 minutes, until the chicken registers 170 Fahrenheit on a meat thermometer.

6.) When rice is finished in the oven, remove it but keep the lid on. Allow rice to sit for 15 minutes before removing the lid and fluffing with a fork. Your chicken should be ready at about the same time.

7.) Serve the chicken and rice together, and enjoy!

Actual combo platter from The Jerk Shack at Ochi!