Jerk Chicken in a Slow Cooker

Pieces of raw chicken meat on a white background

Serves 4

In this recipe the chicken is marinated for 24 hours then cooked slowly in a slow cooker. The meat is soft and delicious and has all the essential flavours of Jamaican jerk chicken.

You can buy slow cooker liner bags from Amazon or some cook shops. I don’t often use them but for this dish they come in to their own. You place all of the ingredients in the bag to marinate and then place the bag in the slow cooker to cook the dish. It’s incredibly easy and, as an added benefit, the bowl of the slow cooker doesn’t get dirty so with a quick wipe your washing up is done.

1 red onion, peeled and chopped
5cm piece of fresh ginger, peeled and roughly chopped
1 ½ tsp ground allspice
½ tsp ground cinnamon
2 fresh green chillies, deseeded and roughly chopped (don’t skimp here, this dish needs heat)
1 tsp ground black pepper
2 garlic cloves, peeled and roughly chopped
1 tsp dried thyme
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 ½ tablespoons soft brown sugar
1 tablespoon cider vinegar
Juice of ½ an orange juice
8 medium chicken leg portions (thighs or drumsticks or a mix of the two), skin removed

Blitz all of the ingredients, except for the last 4 (sugar, vinegar, juice and chicken) in a blender until you have a rough puree. Add the sugar, vinegar and orange juice and blitz again until the mixture is smooth.

Pour the mixture into a slow cooker food bag, add the chicken and seal with wire ties. Give everything a good squish to make sure all the chicken is coated and place in the fridge for 24 hours.

To cook, remove the wire ties and place the bag in the bowl of a slow cooker. Scrunch or fold down the top of the bag to form a rough seal. Cook on high for 1 hour, then on low for 4 hours.

I like to serve this with rice and peas and, if you are feeling healthy, a green salad on the side.

Rich Gravy/Sauce for Meats or Vegetables and quick Stews and Casseroles

guiness-draught-beer-440ml-can-lrThis is a very rich and flavoursome sauce. Use it as a base for quick casseroles, such as my mushroom, pepper and Guinness casserole or to accompany grilled meats or vegetables.

The sauce is easy to make. I think of it as “nearly vegetarian”. To make it vegetarian, replace the Guinness and umami paste with vegetarian alternatives.

3 tablespoons butter
1 large onion, peeled and roughly chopped
2 cloves garlic, peeled and finely chopped
2 carrots, peeled and cut into small dice
3 celery sticks, cut into small dice
2 dried red chillies
A pinch of salt
Ground black pepper
½ tsp dried thyme
2 tablespoons flour
400ml of stock made with a vegetarian stock cube, 2 tsp tomato puree, 1 tsp Marmite and 1 tsp umami paste
1 x 440ml can of Guinness
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
1 pinch of sugar

Melt the butter in a large pan, add the onion and garlic and soften for 5 minutes. Add the carrots, celery, chillies, salt, black pepper and thyme, stir well, cover and simmer gently for 10 minutes.

Stir in the flour and add the stock little-by-little, stirring all the time to soak up the flour. Pour in the Guinness and add the red wine vinegar and sugar.

Bring to a simmer, cover and cook in a low oven for 1 ½ hours. Stir the sauce occasionally and add a splash or two of boiling water if it starts to dry out. Check the seasoning.

The final sauce should be the texture of gravy and will coat the back of a spoon.

The sauce can now be cooled and stored in the fridge until needed.