Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Jamaica - Jerk Seasoning

Go to Jamaica and get ready to experience the three Rs: reggae, reefers and rum. It’s a Caribbean island that sets itself apart from the others; it has a proud connection to Africa. There are certain things we associate with Jamaica (besides the three Rs), Bob Marley, Kingston, Jerk seasoning, and Blue Mountain coffee. And who can resist saying, “Jamaica, mon.”

But don’t worry, you’ll still get everything a Caribbean island promises: Warm sun, beaches and resorts. You just may learn something. Maybe it’ll be about bush-medicine or a little history about the triangular slave trade and the Maroons, who preserved many of the African traditions.

Jerk Pork

4 1/2 lbs pork loin, butterflied ( I used 2 1/2 lbs. If you use lesss meat, adjust the recipe accordingly)
Jerk Sauce (Whole Foods had several to choose from)
2 tsp thyme
1 cup black sesame seeds (I used white since that’s what I had)
Crushed pimento (allspice)
1/2 bunch of green onions, chopped
Salt to taste
2 tsp crushed peppercorns
Cooking oil to brush pork

Season pork loin with salt, 1 tsp crushed pepper and 1 tsp thyme. Spread with jerk sauce and sprinkle with chopped green onion.

Roll the pork tightly, length-wise and brush with oil.

Mix sesame seeds with the crushed pimento, 1 tsp thyme, salt and 1 tsp pepper and roll pork in mixture to form a crust. Wrap tightly in cling wrap and let sit for 1 hour or overnight.

Roast 35 minutes at 375 degrees, or until done. It took my pork to cook longer.

Slice and smother with hot sauce. Serve with rice and peas, dumplings.

Jerk Cornbread

1 cup cornmeal
3 cups flour
1 TBSP all purpose seasoning
1/4 cup brown sugar
2 TBSP baking powder
1 cup canned corn
1 cup green onion, chopped
1 1/2 cups shredded cheddar (or any type of cheese you like)
3 large eggs
2 cups milks or coconut milk
1 cup melted butter
1 TBSP thyme
1/2 tsp scotch bonnet pepper (or chili pepper if you prefer less heat)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees

Line a 9 x 13 cm pan with parchment paper. Coat with butter.

Mix dry ingredients in one bowl and wet in another

Mix wet into dry and place in pan. Bake for 30 – 40 minutes or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean.

Most say that real jerk seasoning is made only using scotch bonnet peppers. The use of these peppers to make jerk seasoning dates back to the Maroons. They created this rub to preserve the meat. They would then slow cook the meat on an open fire.

(I got these recipes from the magazine Jamaican Eats)

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