Jerk Chicken

Grilled Jamaican Jerk Chicken

Jamaican Jerk is a thick and heady Afro-Carribean marinade chock-a-block full of ingredients. Don’t let the lengthy list of spices and aromatics deter you. All you need is the fire of a grill to unify the flavors and create a spicy-sweet finger licking dinner – perfect for a summer barbecue. The heat in the marinade traditionally comes from Scotch Bonnet peppers (super hot). I’ve modified that with jalapeños – but feel free to go all out with a scotch bonnet (carefully seeded with gloved hands!) if you dare. And remember – as with most meat marinades, the longer the chicken can soak in the marinade, the better the flavor.

Jerk Chicken
Serves 6

Marinade:
6 garlic cloves
4 scallions, chopped
2 jalapeños, stemmed, seeded (optional)
1 (2-inch) knob ginger, peeled, chopped
1/4 cup fresh lime juice
3 tablespoons soy sauce or tamari
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves
1 tablespoon black peppercorns
1 tablespoon canola oil
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

6 chicken legs and/or breasts with skin and ribs

Method:
1. Place the marinade ingredients in the bowl of a food processor and process to form a paste. Arrange the chicken in a large baking dish. Rub the marinade all over the chicken and under the skin where possible. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 4 hours or overnight.
2. Prepare the grill for indirect cooking over medium heat. Grill the chicken over indirect heat until charred and golden brown and thoroughly cooked through, 30 to 45 minutes, depending on size and thickness. During the last few moments of grilling, move the chicken to direct heat to char the skin as needed.
3. Serve garnished with fresh chopped parsley.

Grilled Pomegranate Chicken and Vegetable Skewers

pomegranate chicken skewers tastefood

Posted by Lynda Balslev

Memorial Day weekend is a week away, but why wait to grill? Any weekend (or any night, for that matter) is a good excuse to fire up the Weber. I made these skewers to feed a crowd, but the following recipe will generously feed a table of four. A Middle Eastern inspired pomegranate marinade infused with aromatic spices tenderizes and flavors the chicken, which is best left to marinate overnight. If you don’t have time for that, then 4 hours will do.

Grilled Pomegranate Chicken and Vegetable Skewers
Serves 4

Marinade:
1/4 cup pomegranate molasses
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 tablespoon sriracha
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts
Bamboo skewers, pre-soaked for 30 minutes
1 large red onion, cut into 1-inch chunks
2 red or orange bell peppers, stemmed and seeded, cut into 1-inch chunks
Fresh mint and parsley leaves for garnish

1. Whisk the marinade ingredients in a small bowl. Set aside 1/4 cup for basting.
2. Cut the chicken into 1-inch chunks. Place in a large bowl. Add the marinade and stir to coat. Cover and refrigerate for at least 4 hours or overnight.
3. Prepare the grill for direct cooking over medium heat. Thread the chicken on skewers alternating with onion pieces and peppers.
4. Grill over direct medium heat until nicely charred and chicken is thoroughly cooked through, turning as needed, 8 to 10 minutes, basting halfway through the cooking process with reserved sauce.
5. To serve, pile the skewers on a serving platter. Drizzle with olive oil. Season with extra salt and pepper if desired. Garnish with fresh mint and parsley leaves.

Not Very Easter Lamb

lamb roast

Moroccan Spiced Lamb with Roasted Vegetables and Yogurt Sauce

In honor of Easter – and Spring – I share a recipe with you for grilled lamb with 2 marinade options. Normally I smear my lamb with a heady concoction of  North African spices, which is not your traditional Easter roast, mind you, but more like Easter on  holiday – a spring fling for serious bouts of wanderlust. The other marinade is more traditional with olive oil, mustard and rosemary. Either way, the method remains the same. It’s best to let the lamb marinate for as long as possible, preferably overnight – or at least for 6 hours.

Grilled Lamb with 2 Marinades:

Serves 6 to 8.

1 (3 to 4 pound) boned leg of lamb, butterflied
Salt

Dijon Marinade:
3 garlic cloves, minced
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1/4 cup fresh rosemary leaves, finely chopped
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

North African Marinade:
3 garlic cloves, minced
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1/4 cup fresh cilantro sprigs, chopped
1/4 cup fresh mint leaves, chopped
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
2 teaspoons finely grated lemon zest
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon sweet paprika

Season the lamb with salt. Whisk the Dijon or the North African marinade ingredients in a small bowl. Make small incisions in the fat and meat of the lamb. Rub the marinade all over the lamb, massaging it into the meat and folds with your fingers. Place the lamb in a rimmed baking dish. Cover tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 6 hours or overnight.

One hour before roasting, remove the lamb from the refrigerator and let stand at room temperature. If grilling, prepare the grill for direct and indirect cooking over medium heat. Grill the lamb for 10 minutes over direct heat to sear, skin-side down, turning once. Move to indirect heat and grill, covered, turning once or twice, until medium-rare (a meat thermometer inserted in thickest part will read 130 F), 20 to 30 minutes. If roasting, place lamb in a roasting pan. Roast in a preheated 425 F. oven, skin-side up, for about 30 minutes for medium-rare, turning once. Finish under a broiler, skin side up, for a few minutes to brown meat. Allow lamb to rest for 10 minutes, loosely covered with foil, before carving.

Thai Marinated Skirt Steak with Sesame Noodles and Cilantro

Thai Marinated Skirt Steak with Sesame Noodles and Cilantro

There is something infinitely satisfying about presenting a complete dinner heaped on one platter. The arrangement suggests a family-style feast. It’s a fun method for casual dining, which allows everyone to dig into a balanced meal combining meat, greens, and grains, or in this case, noodles.

This Asian-inspired recipe embraces budget friendly skirt steak, a flavorful cut of meat that loves a good marinade, piled over a tangle of noodles. A sweet and sour marinade is perfumed with lemongrass, a key ingredient in Thai and Vietnamese cuisine, which infuses the meat with flavor and spice. The longer the beef marinates the better the flavor, but that’s the only time consuming step in making this dish, which requires little effort – only advance planning.

Lemongrass, also known as citronella, is commonly used to flavor stir-fries, marinades, and curries. It looks like a woody spring onion and has a uniquely fragrant lemon-floral flavor concentrated in the oils in the centers of its stalk. For the purpose of a marinade, the stalk need only be sliced to release its flavor. For other dishes where the lemongrass is eaten, the outer stalks should be removed and the center stalks minced or pounded to a paste. Lemongrass is sold in the fresh produce section of Asian markets or well-stocked supermarketsand the other marinade and dressing ingredients are available in the international section of well-stocked grocery stores and in Asian supermarkets.

If you can’t find fresh lemongrass in the produce section, it’s also sold as a jarred paste. Simply add 1 tablespoon of the paste to the marinade. Once the ingredients are on hand, this dish comes together quickly for a family-friendly weeknight dinner that will have everyone reaching for seconds.

Thai Marinated Skirt Steak with Sesame Noodles
Serves 4

Marinade:
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 lemongrass stalk, white part only, outer leaves removed, stalk finely chopped
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
2 tablespoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons sweet chili sauce
1 tablespoon fish sauce
1 tablespoons vegetable oil

1 1/2 to 2 pounds skirt steak
8 ounces Vietnamese wheat noodles, Chinese egg noodles, or ramen

Dressing:
1 small garlic clove, minced
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
2 tablespoons sesame oil
2 tablespoons tahini
1 tablespoon soy sauce
2 teaspoons light brown sugar
1 teaspoon finely grated ginger
1/4 teaspoon Sriracha or hot sauce

Vegetable oil for pan frying

Garnishes:
2 scallions, white and green parts thinly sliced
1 red or green jalapeño chili pepper, seeded, thinly sliced
1/2 cup fresh cilantro leaves and/or torn mint leaves
1 tablespoon toasted sesame seeds
Lime wedges

1. Combine the marinade ingredients in a large bowl and whisk to blend. Slice the skirt steak on the diagonal against the grain into 1-inch strips. Add to the marinade and toss to coat.  Cover the bowl with plastic and refrigerate at for least 2 hours or up to 24 hours. Remove the steak from the refrigerator 30 minutes before proceeding with recipe.

2. Cook the noodles until al dente per manufacturer’s instructions. Drain and transfer to a bowl. While the noodles are cooking, whisk the dressing ingredients in a small bowl. Pour half of the dressing over the drained noodles and toss to thoroughly coat.

3. Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a cast iron skillet over medium-high heat. Add the skirt steak in batches without overcrowding the pan. (The steak may also be grilled over direct medium-high heat.) Sear the steak on both sides until cooked to your desired doneness, 2 to 3 minutes each side for medium-rare. Transfer to a plate and repeat with the remaining meat.

4. To serve, spread the noodles on a serving platter or in a shallow serving bowl. Arrange the skirt steak strips over the noodles and scatter the chile pepper, cilantro, mint, and sesame seeds over and around the steak. Garnish with the lime wedges and drizzle the remaining sauce over the steak and noodles. Serve warm.

Pomegranate Glazed Chicken Vegetable Skewers

chicken vegetable skewers~ Pomegranate Glazed Chicken and Vegetable Skewers ~

Everything tastes better on a stick. Skewered chicken, peppers and onions are a simple healthy and quick dinner that the whole family will enjoy and have fun eating. These skewers pack extra flavor with a marinade enriched with sweet and piquant pomegranate molasses. The sugars in the molasses help the chicken brown and crisp while grilling.  If you have the time, marinate the chicken in the refrigerator for up to 6 hours. If not, then simply let the chicken marinate at room temperature while you prepare the vegetables and soak the skewers.

Pomegranate Glazed Chicken Vegetable Skewers

Pomegranate molasses may be found in the international aisle of most supermarkets.

Serves 4 to 6

Marinade:
3 garlic cloves, minced
1/4 cup pomegranate molasses
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
2 tablespoon Dijon mustard
2 tablespoon soy sauce
1 tablespoon Sriracha or hot sauce
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground coriander

2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut in 1-inch chunks
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 bell peppers, stemmed, seeded, cut in 1-inch chunks
2 medium red onions, cut in 1-inch chunks

10 (10-inch) bamboo skewers, pre-soaked 30 minutes

Whisk the marinade ingredients in a bowl. Set aside 1/3 cup for basting. Lightly season the chicken pieces with salt and black pepper. Place in a large bowl and pour the remaining marinade over and stir to coat. Cover and refrigerate for up to 6 hours (or let stand at room temperature for 30 minutes).

Prepare the grill for direct cooking over medium heat or preheat the oven broiler. Thread the chicken on the skewers, alternating with onions and peppers.
Grill or broil until sides exposed to heat source are golden brown, 4 to 5 minutes. Turn and baste with reserved marinade. Continue to grill until the other side is golden brown, and the chicken is thoroughly cooked through, 4 to 5 minutes. Serve warm.

Grilled Fish and Vegetable Skewers with Barramundi

Grilled Fish Skewers TasteFood

~ Grilled Fish and Vegetable Skewers with Barramundi ~

Weekends are made for grilling, and this weekend was no different. On the menu were these fish skewers with chunks of barramundi, sweet peppers and red onion. I’ve been having some fun with barramundi lately, generously provided by the folks at Australis who are raising barramundi in some of the world’s most innovative fish farms located in Massachusetts and Vietnam. Australis is considered to be a pioneer in the use of close-containment farming (systems that are considered the “gold standard” for sustainable aquaculture). Their greener way of farming has been recognized by leading environmental organizations, including Monterey Bay Aquarium’s Seafood Watch Program, Environmental Defense, and Blue Institute, while their Smart Aquaculture practices have earned Australis the prestigious “Seafood Champion Award” by Seafood Choices Alliance. It’s no wonder they refer to their product as The Better Fish.

I enjoy the mild and buttery flavor of barramundi, and now I can attest to how well it holds up on the grill.  I used my favorite go-to marinade to coat the chunks of fish. Its secret ingredient is grated onion which adds a sweet and tangy depth of flavor that enhances the barramundi without overpowering its mild flavor.

Grilled Fish Skewers TasteFood

Grilled Fish and Veggie Skewers with Barramundi
This marinade works well with most firm-fleshed fish, including swordfish, halibut or salmon. Serves 4 to 5.

Marinade:
1/4 cup grated yellow onion, grated, with juices
1/4 cup soy sauce or tamari
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

2 pounds barramundi, cut in 1 1/2″ chunks
1 red onion, cut in 1-inch chunks
1 large sweet red or yellow bell pepper, cut in 1-inch chunks

8 bamboo skewers, soaked in water for at least 30 minutes or metal skewers.

Whisk the marinade ingredients in a large bowl. Add fish and gently turn to coat. Cover and refrigerate 1 hour.
Prepare grill for direct cooking over medium-high heat (or preheat oven broiler.) Thread fish on skewers, alternating onion and peppers. Grill over direct medium-high heat, turning, until fish is charred and just cooked through, about 8 minutes. Arrange on a platter and garnish with parsley sprigs.

Australis’ barramundi is currently available in Northern California Costco stores. If you live elsewhere, check out the Australis Facebook page for your nearest retailer, updates and news on Australis Barramundi.

australis barramundi

Disclaimer: Australis provided me with a free sample of Barramundi for review purposes, and I am being compensated for this post via the NoshOnIt Partner Publisher Program. My opinions are entirely my own.

Chipotle Skirt Steak Fajitas

Chipotle Skirt Steak Fajitas

~ Chipotle Skirt Steak Fajitas ~

It’s August, but fall is in the air. There is a deep chill to the mornings, while the afternoon sunlight colors everything a hazy golden hue, stretching long shadows into the garden.  As if on cue, apples and pears have moved into prominent display in the markets, and school lunches are once again on our mind. The first week of school, with post-summer reunions, orientations, and a significant step into high school, has finished with success. The kids are happy; so then are the parents. I can’t think of a better excuse for a little down-home Margarita-Friday celebration, along with a fiesta-inspired dinner.

Chipotle Skirt Steak Fajitas
Serves 4

For the marinade:
3 garlic cloves, minced
2 chipotle peppers in adobo sauce, minced
1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup fresh lime juice
1/4 cup brown sugar
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon ground cumin

1 1/2 pounds skirt steak

For the Avocado Corn Salsa:
1 15-ounce can black beans drained
Corn kernels from one ear of corn
2 scallions, white and green parts thinly sliced
1 small red bell pepper, stemmed and seeded, finely diced
Juice of one lime
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon hot sauce, or to taste
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 ripe, but not too soft, avocado, cut in 1/4 inch chunks
1/4 cup chopped cilantro leaves

Soft corn or flour tortillas
Garnishes: tomato salsa, sour cream, fresh cilantro, fresh lime juice

Whisk all of the marinade ingredients together in a small bowl. Place skirt steak in a shallow rimmed dish (or a zip-lock bag). Pour the marinade over the steak. Cover with plastic and refrigerate, covered, at least 4 hours or overnight, turning once or twice.

To make the salsa, combine all of the ingredients except the avocado and cilantro in a bowl. Toss to combine. Taste for seasoning. (Salsa may be made in advance to this point. Cover and refrigerate). Before serving add avocado and cilantro. Gently toss to combine.

Remove steak from refrigerator 30 minutes before grilling. Discard marinade. Grill steak over direct high heat, turning once, until desired doneness, 4 to 6 minutes for medium-rare. (Or broil in oven, turning once). Transfer to cutting board and rest for 5 minutes. Cut against the grain in 1/2-inch strips.

To assemble fajitas, spoon Avocado Corn Salsa over a tortilla. Top with a few steak strips. Garnish with tomato salsa, sour cream, fresh cilantro and a squeeze of lime. Roll up and eat. Pass the napkins.