Grilled Jamaican Jerk Chicken Breasts

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Makes 4 - 6 Servings

            Marinating the chicken at least 6 hours or overnight infuses the chicken with quintessential Jamaican flavor. The Scotch bonnet pepper is traditional, but substitute with one you know. If you are a little heat-averse, use just a small portion of the pepper. I like to serve this with rice, and sliced fresh mango, to cool the palate from the jerk seasonings.

4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 tablespoons white or cider vinegar
2 teaspoons granulated sugar
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 ground allspice
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 Scotch Bonnet pepper, cored, seeded, and chopped
1 teaspoon chopped fresh ginger
1 tablespoon canola oil

Flatten chicken breasts evenly to 1/2-inch thick between sheets of wax paper and move to a large resealable plastic bag.

Add soy sauce, vinegar, sugar, black pepper, allspice, cinnamon, nutmeg, Scotch Bonnet pepper, ginger, and oil in the bowl of a food processor. Pulse to combine and chop pepper fine. Pour over chicken, seal bag, and refrigerate 6 hours or overnight.

When ready to cook, prepare grill to medium-high heat on one half of the grill and low on the other half. Place marinated chicken down on hot side of grill. Grill 4–5 minutes on each side over the direct heat, basting once during that cooking time. Discard the marinade. Move the chicken to the cooler side and continue to grill until the thickest part of the breast reaches 165°. Serve hot.

©2016 by Cynthia Graubart. Published in Chicken: A Savor the South Cookbook from UNC Press.