Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Jamaican-Spiced Chicken Thighs and Rum Sauced Yams

My husband and I honeymooned in the Caribbean. The island of St. Lucia. I can still see the open air restaurant where we ate breakfast and lunch every day...the sweet, warm breeze rustling through the tropical flowers, the sound of the waves rolling onto the sand, the birds swooping overhead, and the mouthwatering aroma of those Caribbean spices floating on the air. Ahhh. My happy place. When I came across this recipe for Jamaican-Spiced Chicken Thighs I thought, "Honeymoon food!" My husband and I agreed that this dinner captured the flavors of that restaurant from the resort perfectly. The chicken was perfectly spiced and delicious paired with sweet potatoes saturated in decadent buttery rum sauce. The dining experience was a little different. No tropical breezes or waves crashing on the sand. And noticeably absent was that feeling of complete, carefree relaxation. Instead, we gathered around the table in our little Midwestern kitchen. The sound of the waves was replaced by our 5 year old dramatically pushing her plate away and complaining, "Ewww. Disgusting! I'm not eating that. I took a bite. You left guts in it!" Followed by our toddler laughing and kicking the table while squishing great handfulls of sweet potato in her little fists. Well, at least she ate it.(I left two thighs plain to spare the kiddos the heat of the jalapeno and ground red pepper.) My how times have changed!

If you could use a little Jamaican escape (I could today!) then give this a try. It came together in about 30 minutes and the flavors were wonderful!

In a bowl, mix together sugar, red onion, jalapeno, cider vinegar, soy sauce, salt, allspice, thyme, red pepper, and black pepper.

Skin about 1-1/2 lbs. of chicken thighs and sprinkle with a little kosher salt.

Now toss those chicken thighs in the spice mixture until well coated.

Move the thighs to a heated skillet treated with cooking spray or a little oil. Cook on one side for 4 minutes, then flip and continue cooking another 6-10 minutes until juices run clear.

Before you start cooking the chicken, peel a couple of large sweet potatoes and puncture in several places with a fork. Microwave on high for 3 minutes, then turn them over and microwave for another 2-3 minutes. Let sit for 10 minutes.

Slice potatoes diagonally into 3/4" thick slices.

Melt butter in a skillet or griddle pan and stir in brown sugar, ginger, and rum.

Arrange slices over sauce and cook over medium heat for about 5 minutes. Then carefully flip and cook on the other side for another 5 minutes.

Sprinkle with a tablespoon or more of fresh, chopped cilantro.

To serve, arrange the potatoes on the outside of a serving dish, then pile the chicken in the center.

I will be making this one again! I could just eat those blackened drippings from the bottom of the skillet. That's how good this is!

Yield: 4 servings (serving size: 2 small chicken thighs or 1 large)

Jamaican-Spiced Chicken Thighs slightly adapted from Cooking Light

1/4 cup minced red onion
1 tablespoon sugar
1 tablespoon finely chopped seeded jalapeƱo pepper
2 teaspoons cider vinegar
2 teaspoons soy sauce
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 teaspoon ground red pepper
8 skinless, boneless chicken thighs (about 1 1/2 pounds)
Cooking spray


1. Combine first 10 ingredients in a large bowl; add chicken, tossing to coat. Heat a grill pan over medium-high heat. Coat pan with cooking spray. Add chicken to pan; cook 4 minutes. Turn chicken over; cook 6 minutes or until done.

Nutritional Information
Calories:187 (27% from fat)
Fat:5.7g (sat 1.4g,mono 1.7g,poly 1.4g)

Rum Sauced Yams ingredients from TLC's Jamaican Grilled Sweet Potatoes

2 large (about 1-1/2 pounds) sweet potatoes or yams
3 tablespoons packed brown sugar
2 tablespoons softened butter, divided
1 teaspoon ground ginger
2 tablespoons dark rum
1 tablespoon chopped fresh cilantro


1.Pierce potatoes in several places with fork. Place on paper towel in microwave. Microwave on HIGH 5 to 6 minutes or until crisp-tender, rotating 1/4 turn halfway through cooking. Let stand 10 minutes. Diagonally slice about 1/2 inch off ends of potatoes. Continue cutting potatoes diagonally into 3/4-inch-thick slices.

2. Melt butter in a skillet. Add brown sugar, ginger, and rum. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium. Arrange sweet potato slices over the sauce. cook for 5 minutes. Carefully flip. Cook for an additional 5 minutes. Top with chopped cilantro.

Nutritional Information: Serving Size: 4-5 slices
Sodium 56 mg
Protein 2 g
Carbohydrate 38 g
Saturated Fat 1 g
Total Fat 4 g
Calories from Fat 18 %
Calories 195


Mary | Deep South Dish said...

Thanks for the trip to the islands! (kids, gotta love 'em LOL) The chicken looks really good too, and sounds like something I would LOVE.

Katy ~ said...

This looks sensational! Love the spices in this! Adding this to my must-make stash.

Where's my suntan lotion?!

Coleens Recipes said...

You left GUTS in it?!?!?! How could you???? hahahahaha Kids, you gotta love them. This sounds wonderful, almost as good as your honeymoon story. Where have those days gone?

Heather S-G said...

I'm all in!! I've always wanted to go to Jamaica!!!! This sounds like a wonderful dinner...the sweet potatoes...yowza!! Everything sounds so delicious :D

Donna-FFW said...

Gorgeous dinner. Rum sauced yams with cilantro, OMG, perfect. And I love the jamaican inspired chicken.


theUngourmet said...

I loved the "you left the guts in!" Ha! :D

This is such a great dish! I especially love those gorgeous potatoes. Yummy!

Inspired by eRecipeCards said...

what a great recipe... I got married in Jamaicca, so it is always romantic whenever I cook something with the name.

And I really love the presentation!

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