Sometime last year we went to one of our favorite restaurants, Cabana. I’ve eaten there so many times I’ve ate most of the menu. I frequently order off their specials. One time I ordered Jerk Chicken from the specials list. Never in my life have I eaten a meal that was too hot for me on the first bite. It was SO hot I got no enjoyment out of the meal. The Boy offered to trade with me, but he had ordered prime rib, cooked pretty rare. And I don’t like prime rib. I was so disappointed, because it was the first bad meal I’d had at the restaurant. I was determined that I could make that same meal, only make it enjoyable. I searched the web and found a recipe on Real Simple.

I’m so glad I found this recipe. Not only is is simple, it’s delicious & pretty healthy. I tweak it just a little. One thing is, I don’t cook with white rice. Brown rice is just so much better for you, and we’re accustomed to it now. And the other tweak was instead of using salt & pepper I used Caribbean Jerk seasoning we had in our spice pantry, to kick it up a knotch. This is a really yummy meal, and it feels like a fancy or special meal, even though it doesn’t require a lot of effort. I’ve made this a few times, and it will always have a spot in our regular rotation.


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Jerk Chicken with Rice, Black Beans, & Pineapple


adapted from Real Simple

Ingredients:

1 cup brown rice
1/4 cup cider vinegar
1/4 cup spiced rum or orange juice (I chose rum, of course!)
2 tablespoons jerk sauce
1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger
4 6-ounce boneless, skinless chicken breasts
Caribbean Jerk seasoning (or Kosher salt and pepper)
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 15-ounce can black beans, drained and rinsed
8 ounces fresh pineapple, cut into 1-inch pieces
1 bunch scallions, sliced

Directions:

Cook the rice according to the package directions.

Combine the vinegar, rum, jerk sauce, and ginger in a measuring cup or small bowl; set aside.

Pound the chicken to an even thickness. Season it with jerk seasoning (or salt & pepper).

Heat the oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add the chicken and cook until browned, about 4 minutes per side. Remove from heat and add the vinegar mixture. Return the skillet to low heat and simmer until the chicken is cooked through, about 2 minutes.

Stir the beans into the rice, add jerk seasoning if desired. Spoon rice & bean mixture onto plate or shallow bowl, top with chicken. Spoon remaining sauce over chicken. Top with pineapple & scallions.

Tip: The chili peppers in jerk sauce shouldn't overwhelm the other ingredients. Taste yours before adding it to a dish. If the sauce is too spicy, cut the amount you use in the recipe by half.