Creating recipes isn't a pastime—it's a passion. And a lot of fun.

The rules are few: Use 99% fresh ingredients (or thereabouts); make the dish simple but flavorful; make the dish flavorful but simple; be creative, not silly.

With this blog, I want to share new recipes, along with tips on ingredients and preparation, and, hopefully, show new cooks (and non-cooks) the pleasure in setting the table with a delicious homemade meal. The Briny Lemon is about fresh, simple, flavorful ingredients and easy cooking methods that help you bring the best to your family table. Your comments are welcome!

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Jerk Chicken with Jamaican Pigeon Peas and Rice

“Pigeon peas” (gandules in Spanish) derive their name from their appearance—small, round, and ranging in color from dark brown to bright green, some with specks. However, these “peas” are actually beans, popular in Caribbean cuisine, particularly in Jamaica and Puerto Rico. In this recipe, the beans’ mild, earthy flavor balances the sweetness of the coconut milk and provides a pleasant balance for the spicy, aromatic jerk chicken. 

Canned pigeon peas are sold in the international sections of some supermarkets, and at markets specializing in Latin American cuisine. If you can’t find them, try the recipe with red kidney beans—also popular throughout the Caribbean.

Rinsed, Drained Pigeon Peas
Serves 4


For the Jerk Chicken
  • 1-1/2 tsp ground coriander
  • 1 tsp ground allspice
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp chile powder
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp dried red pepper flakes
  • 1/4 tsp ground cloves
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 3-1/2-lb chicken, cut into 8 pieces, skin removed
  • olive oil, for drizzling
  • sea salt
For the Pigeon Peas and Rice
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 habanero chiles, finely chopped
  • 1 garlic clove, finely chopped
  • 1/2 small onion, finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup long-grain white rice, soaked in cold water 30 minutes, rinsed and drained
  • sea salt
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 15-oz can coconut milk, divided
  • 1 15-oz can pigeon peas, rinsed and drained
Pigeon Peas and Rice Ingredients

For the Jerk Chicken
  1. Combine the first 8 ingredients (through black pepper) in a small bowl. Place the chicken pieces in a large bowl and add the jerk seasoning. Rub well to coat. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 4 hours or overnight. Bring the chicken to room temperature before roasting.
Jerk Spice Rub
Jerk-Rubbed Chicken
  1. Preheat the oven to 375° F. Line a large, shallow baking pan with parchment paper.
  2. Place the chicken in the pan and drizzle with olive oil. Season with salt and roast 25 minutes. Turn the chicken pieces over and roast until tender and just cooked through, about 25 minutes longer, depending on size.
Marinated Chicken Ready to Roast
Chicken after Turning
Roast Jerk Chicken
For the Pigeon Peas and Rice 
  1. Heat a large, nonstick skillet over medium heat and add the olive oil. Add the chiles, garlic, and onion and stir-fry 3 minutes. Add the rice and stir-fry 2 minutes.
Rice Added
  1. Reserve 1/3 cup of the coconut milk. Pour the remaining milk into the rice mixture and season with salt and pepper. Stir well to combine. Bring to a boil then reduce the heat to low, cover tightly, and cook until most of the liquid is absorbed, 10 minutes.
Coconut Milk Added

  1. Stir in the pigeon peas, cover, and cook 7-8 minutes longer. Fluff with a fork before serving.
Pigeon Peas Added
Divide the pigeon peas and rice among 4 plates and spoon a little of the reserved coconut milk over each. Serve with 2 chicken pieces each. 

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