Saturday, 9 March 2013

Jerk Chicken Bahamas style: A Guest Post from Lena M Bonaby

If you read this blog every now and then, you will realise that I am a full time Senior Lecturer at a Law School in Central London. I have had the pleasure of teaching many students from different cultural backgrounds.

It is often surprising the frequency with which we eventually turn to matters food and drink. I think that each culture's heritage is firmly rooted in its culinary heritage. And it is in discussing our similarities and differences that we can cross the bridges of distance between nations. Many years ago, Keith Floyd pronounced that to know a country, one had to eat a country. I have repeated it many times, not because I am unimaginative, but because to me, it really seems to be the truth!

Lena M. Bonaby is one of my former students (formerly Lena Hield). She was a hard working and committed student. She was called to the Bar after successfully completing the course to qualify as a Barrister and returned to Freeport in the Bahamas to practice. Yes, whilst I slave in the grey and cold and rain, Lena gets to work in the tropical sunshine! There are days it is inevitable that I sink into envy, but never bitterness. Lena was always a student who deserved every success and her smile was like the bright beautiful sunshine of her homeland. She really was able to brighten a room, just by being in it. 

Lena married McKell Bonaby in February 2011 and in November 2012 welcomed son Blaine into the world. Blaine is an adorable little boy, who apparently falls asleep to the strains of Beyonce singing 'Halo'. 

All new arrivals need time and care. And we can forgive it if they take their parents' attention from other things. So I hope you won't mind if Lena has been unable to post a picture of the completed dish. She has meant to, but I think we all agree that it is only right that little Blaine comes first.

Now, without further ado, I'll pass you over into the far more capable hands of Lena....

My love for cooking began when I was a little girl. My mom was a stay at home mom, and she began cooking when she was only eleven years old.

She had numerous cookbooks, and tried just about every recipe that one could think of. I use to watch her cook, and I would taste whatever she cooked. My love for cooking stems from my love for food, and from watching my mom cook.

When I was old enough, around ten, she allowed me to assist her with some dishes. I was cooking on my own from I was about eleven or twelve, just like my mom, but my cooking was limited as she was the sous chef in our home.

By the time I was twelve, I had mastered many dishes, including one of my favourites, Lasagne.

I absolutely love cooking, and I can cook and bake 80% of my favourite foods. 

I love making Lasagne and other Italian dishes, and various Caribbean and Indian dishes. My favourite cake that I love making is pineapple upside cake.

Lena M Bonaby's Jerk Chicken Recipe

(Serves 4+ depends on whether the chicken leg is separated from the thigh)

Prep Time: 15-20 minutes
Total time: 3 hours +

Jerk marinade:

4 chicken thighs (with legs, attached or detached) 
1 lime, juiced
3 large garlic cloves, chopped
1 bunch scallions, chopped
1 small onion, chopped
1 jalapeno, chopped
3 tablespoons olive oil or vegetable oil, plus more for greasing grill grates
2 tablespoons low sodium soy sauce
1/8 – ¼ cup light brown sugar (to taste)
2 teaspoons ground allspice
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme leaves
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper (season to taste)
Fresh parsley, for garnish


Score chicken and season with kosher salt and ground pepper, and put in a casserole dish or into a resealable plastic bag.

Combine all marinade ingredients in a blender (or food processor). Blend all of the marinade ingredients together in until smooth.

Cover the chicken with the jerk marinade and toss to coat. (If you used a casserole dish, cover it with plastic wrap OR if you used a resealable bag, ensure that you secure the bag properly with a tie or knot). Refrigerate the chicken with the marinade for at least 2 hours for the flavours to meld. If you have the time, let the chicken marinate overnight.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Bake for about 35 minutes in the oven.

Remove from the oven and finish on the grill (use oil on the grill to prevent the chicken from sticking to the grill).
This is the chicken before it has been grilled

Preheat grill to high. Grill for 2-4 minutes on each side

Transfer the chicken to a serving platter, garnish with fresh parsley and serve.

Snigdha's interfering busybody notes (why can't she just keep her nose well out of it?!):

350 degrees Fahrenheit works out to 177-180 degrees Celsius/Centigrade.

Please marinate in a non-metallic bowl, as the acids in the marinade will taste funny if left in a metal bowl.

Scallions are the American name for spring onions.

A jalapeno is obviously a chili. If you can't find them then substituting another type of chili should be fine.

If you can't find low sodium soy sauce, then you could use regular, but you may need to drop the amount of salt you add.

Allspice is not a mixture of spices, but a powder made from grinding the Allspice berry (AKA Jamaica Pepper).

Kosher salt is salt with no additives, so if you cannot find specifically 'kosher' salt, then use additive free salts such as Maldon Sea Salt.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for the Chicken Recipe you have provided. It would be nice if you take a look of various takeaway food from