I love authentic Jamaican recipes, especially for chicken. The chicken holds a place of special significance in all West Indian cooking. There are so many beautiful dishes made in Jamaica and by the West Indian diaspora using this humble bird and each one is stunningly delicious.
This particular dish sings in the mouth – the butter soft flesh that falls apart, the rich flavoursome sauce and the spice dusted outer coating on the fried chicken breast, leg or thigh (all work equally well, in fact, I would say you really need your chicken on the bone for this dish, even if it’s only a part-boned breast. It holds the flesh together throughout the long slow cooking).
People will have varying versions of the spice mix and others may prefer to finely chop the onion, garlic, tomato and coriander rather than blend it but the end result will still taste pretty similar, i.e gorgeous.
4 chicken breasts (part-boned) or 12 chicken thighs/drumsticks
1 tsp each ground coriander/cumin/garam masala/paprika/turmeric/chilli (or to taste)
1/2 bulb garlic
Big handful coriander
1 1/2 pints chicken stock
Combine all the spices in a large bowl and toss the skinned chicken pieces in them to coat thoroughly (see above). In a non-stick pan over a medium heat seal all the chicken pieces using a light or neutral oil such as groundnut oil. While they are browning peel your onion and garlic and then blend them to a pulp along with the tomato and coriander. If there is any spice mix left in the bowl add that, too.
When all the chicken pieces are browned and set aside use the oil left in the pan to fry the wet onion/garlic/tomato/coriander/left over spice mix. You will find it brings up any spices stuck to the pan. This is good. No point wasting flavour in the same way you wouldn’t waste it on a roasting pan when making gravy.
When you have cooked off the paste put the chicken pieces back in the pan, add the stock and cook, tightly covered, on a gentle simmer for about 3 hours. Check the seasoning and serve.