© David Loftus
Levi Roots-stylee jerk chicken & jalapeno breads
My brother Levi Roots told me allspice, or pimento as its called in Jamaica, is the secret to jerk chicken. The allspice berry adds about five flavours in one, so its a powerful little thing. Levi has seven kids there must be something pretty special in that sauce! ! Growing up in Jamaica, Levis says, there was an amazing community spirit and lots of outdoor cooking, and people would go and visit their neighbours when they caught wafts of it. I love the sound of that.
Pound the allspice berries, peppercorns and chilli flakes in a pestle and mortar until fine, then mix in the sugar and honey. Finely chop the herbs, chillies, garlic and ginger, add to the spice mixture and bash it all up some more. Add the green parts of the spring onions and a good drizzle of oil and mix well. Pour the marinade over the chicken and massage it in wear rubber gloves if you want as those chillies are hot! Leave to marinate in the fridge for at least 1 to 2 hours, but preferably overnight.
Place the chicken, skin-side down, on the barbecue over a medium heat and cook for 40 to 50 minutes, turning often, or until the chicken is golden and cooked through. Its nice to add a handful of allspice berries to the coals for some extra flavour in the smoke or to drizzle over a little beer near the end of cooking for extra stickiness. You could also cook them in the oven at 200°C/400°F/gas 6 for 25 to 30 minutes, turning occasionally, then finish them off on the barbecue for 5 minutes to get all lovely and charred.
Meanwhile, make the flatbreads. In a bowl, mix together the flour, yoghurt, baking powder and a good pinch of salt. When it starts coming together, flour your hands and knead the dough on a lightly floured surface. Divide the dough into 4 pieces and roll out into circles about 2mm thick. Scatter over the jalapeno and a pinch of salt and press in. Quickly scrub off any burnt jerk rub from half your barbecue bars, then use kitchen paper to rub the bars with olive oil. Add the flatbreads and cook for 2 to 3 minutes, turning once, until golden on both sides. When the chicken is ready, squeeze over a little lime juice, then take off the grill ready to tuck in.
1 tablespoon allspice berries
1 tablespoon black peppercorns
1 tablespoon dried chilli flakes
½ tablespoon muscovado sugar
2 tablespoons runny honey
a few sprigs fresh flat-leaf parsley
a few fresh coriander sprigs
2 scotch bonnet chillies
1 garlic clove
a 3cm piece of fresh ginger, peeled
2 spring onions, trimmed and finely sliced
4 chicken thighs and 4 drumsticks, preferably higher welfare, skin on
beer, for drizzling (optional)
For the flatbreads
250g self-raising flour, plus extra for dusting
½ teaspoon baking powder
1 jalapeno chilli, finely sliced