Jerk Chicken with Mango Cilantro Relish

Rain, rain and more rain. We've been pounded with so much rain lately. Ironically, all this rain makes me think of the tropics... well, tropical storms really. With my mind on the tropics, I figured a tropical inspired dinner seemed pretty fitting. I made this Jerk Chicken with a Mango Cilantro Relish and now I wish I was on a sunny island...

Jamaican jerk seasoning is a blend of spices are used to marinate meats such as chicken and pork. The spices commonly used in jerk include hot chile peppers (like scotch bonnets or habaneros), thyme, allspice, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, garlic, salt and pepper. When making this recipe, the chicken really absorbed the flavors well, especially when marinating for about 2 days, if not longer.

We personally aren't big on spicy foods, at least not often, so I adapted this recipe to substitute the scotch bonnet pepper called for in the original recipe with a jalapeno pepper. I also prepared this dish as a freezer meal, since marinated meats do well as make ahead/freezer meals. You have your option to grill the chicken or bake in the oven - both cooking options are noted below. I baked this dish since all our charcoal got wet on our deck with the recent storms we had.

To finish off this dish, a mango cilantro relish makes for a great condiment. The relish has bright notes of cilantro, along with the juice of a lime and orange. The sweetness of the mango and red onions work nicely with the subtle heat of the jerk marinade as well. This relish is a must to serve with the chicken!

Jerk Chicken with Mango Cilantro Relish
recipe adapted from Bobby Flay

1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 onion, coarsely chopped
2 scallion, coarsely chopped
1 large jalapeno pepper, stem and seeds removed
1 tablespoon fresh ginger, grated
3 cloves garlic, coarsely chopped
1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh thyme
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1 tablespoon light brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg
Pinch ground cloves
1 teaspoon ground allspice
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 teaspoon fresh lime juice
4 chicken thighs, skin on, bone in
4 drumsticks, skin on

Serve with Mango Cilantro Relish (recipe follows)

Puree all the ingredients, except the chicken, in a food processor until almost smooth. Piece the chicken with a fork to make tiny holes. Place the chicken in a large shallow baking dish and rub the marinade into the chicken. Cover and refrigerate for 24 to 48 hours, depending on how intense you want the flavor to be.

To grill - preheat grill. Grill chicken on each side for 5 to 6 minutes or until cooked through.

To bake - preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place chicken on baking sheet lined with foil and bake in the preheated oven for 30-35 minutes or until the internal temperature of the chicken reaches 160 degrees.

* To make ahead/freezer meal - Prepare the chicken as directed above and place in a gallon sized freezer bag to marinate. Seal and freeze chicken. When ready to prepare the chicken, defrost completely and following the cooking directions for either the grill or oven.

Mango Cilantro Relish
(recipe courtesy of Bobby Flay)
2 mangoes, peeled and diced
1/4 cup finely chopped red onion
2 tablespoons chopped cilantro
3 tablespoons lime juice
3 tablespoons fresh orange juice
Salt and freshly ground pepper

Combine the mangoes, onion, cilantro, lime juice, and orange juice in a bowl and gently mix. Season to taste with salt and pepper. This relish can be made ahead.


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  2. I am pretty sure I'm gonna have to make this! YUMMY! Thank you for sharing... ~Lanie

  3. This recipe sounds delicious!

  4. Such a great recipe. I like the mango cilantro relish.

  5. Wishing you Sunshine, Joelen!

    I'm liking this recipe a lot. The thought of tossing it in the freezer to marinate is a huge plus!!! Thanks for that tip and thank you so much for sharing...

  6. I like the jerk chicken recipe. I will try this recipe. Thank you for sharing this recipe.

  7. wondering if I could make ahead and freeze the mango salsa as well?

  8. Hi Amber! I never tried making the salsa and freezing. My concern is that it might lose its texture once defrosted or affect the flavor. If you end up trying to freeze, let me know how it goes. Otherwise I recommend freezing just the chicken and serving it with fresh mango salsa.