Eat Caribbean by Virginia Burke
Jamaica: If you check out various brands and recipes for jerk seasoning and marinades, you will find a variety of ingredients in them that certainly did not exist when the Marooons were developing the method. I have seen soya sauce, rum, mustard and ketchup and it seems that everyone has their 'secret ingredient'. The following ingredients are the most essential and should be included: allspice berries, hot pepper (scotch bonnet and birdpepper), spring onion, ginger, cinnamon, thyme and black pepper.
The recipe below is simple and based on research and repeated success. The amount of jerk to use can vary quite a bit and most people learn to use it through trial. You can make your seasoning mild or create a batch of 'lip remover'. Even the peppers vary in strength. Always use less rather than more until you get the hang of it.
Preparation time: 10 minutes.
Makes: about 2/3 cup
• 6 spring onions
• 1-3 scotch bonnet peppers (use 1 pepper if you don't want it seriously hot!)
• 2 tsp allspice berries or 1 tsp ground allspice
• 1 tbsp chopped fresh thyme or 1/2 tbsp dried thyme
• 2 tsp ground cinnamon
• 1 tsp grated nutmeg
• 1 tsp brown sugar
• 1 1/2 tsp salt
• 1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
• 1/4 cup cane vinegar or distilled (white) malt vinegar
• 1 tbsp oil
The traditional method is to crudely mash all the ingredients up with a mortar and pestle and use to marinate the meat, discarding any large bits of spring onion, etc, before cooking. To make it easier, you can use a blender to reduce all the ingredients to a thick paste.
HONEY JERK SEASONING
This recipe works particularly well with pork, lamb or chicken.
Makes 1/4 cup (enough to marinate 2 lb meat)
• 1/4 cup Jerk Seasoning (see above)
• 2 tsp finely minced fresh root ginger
• 2 tbsp honey
Mix all the ingredients together in a smalt bowl.