Jamaican Jerk Chicken with Rice and Peas

Jerk chicken with rice and peas is one of my favourite dishes full stop. The combination of spicy, salty, herby jerk chicken with coconutty Jamaican rice and peas is a match made in heaven, and something which is ridiculously easy to make at home.

Most people have tried jerk chicken or something similar, but for those who haven't had rice and peas before I'll tell you what it isn't. It isn't a boring mix of plain rice and green peas; it's a marriage of garlic, onion, herbs, seasoning, coconut milk, basmati rice and mixed beans that is far more than simply an accompanyment to the chicken - it's a joy in itself and something to be respected.

With that out of the way, on to the recipe.

To make this you'll need:
(Serves 4 hungry people)

Jerk Chicken
  • 2 medium onions, finely chopped
  • 1 scotch bonnet chilli finely chopped (take out the seeds and white pith if you want less heat)
  • 1 Thumb size piece of ginger, peeled and finely chopped
  • 1 Small bunch fresh thyme (about two tsp) leaves only
  • 1 tsp freshly ground rock salt
  • 1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • ½ tsp ground allspice
  • 100ml white wine vinegar
  • 100ml dark soy sauce
  • Grated rind and juice 1 lime
  • 2 tsp Jamaican Hot Pepper Sauce (such as Encona)
  • 2 tsp soft brown sugar
  • 4-6 chicken legs (Thigh and drumstick together)
Rice and peas
  • Vegetable oil
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 300ml basmati rice
  • 400ml coconut milk
  • 400ml water (use the empty coconut milk can)
  • 400g can of Jamaican beans and peas, drained
  • Small bunch fresh thyme (about two tsp) leaves only
  • 1 Scotch Bonnet whole (optional)
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
To serve
  • Green salad, coleslaw, extra hot pepper sauce
A Note on ingredients:

Most supermarkets have a 'World Foods' section where you can find all the ingredients you'll need. Buy the cheapest jamaican coconut milk they have (it's going to be absorbed anyway so 'thick and creamy coconut cream' is a waste), and use jamaican mixed peas and beans rather than just kidney beans if possible. If you can't be bothered making the jerk seasoning then I can recommend the 'Tropical' Jerk Seasoning - combined with a bit of olive oil, soy sauce and lime juice it does a pretty good job. Just don't add any salt as it's pretty salty already.


  1. Gently fry the onion and ginger in a good glug of olive until soft, then add the garlic and chilli fry for another minute.
  2. Add the rest of the ingredients and simmer for 5 minutes until the sauce has reduced by about half. Leave aside to cool slightly
  3. Make some slices into the chickens flesh and then place into a large zip seal bag. Pour in the cooled jerk marinade, seal, then move the chicken around until well coated and put in the fridge to marinade (overnight is best, but for an absolute minimum of 30 minutes)
  4. After marinading pour the whole lot into a large lasagne dish and turn so the chicken is skin side up. Cook in a preheated oven at 200*c for about 40 minutes or until cooked through.
  5. While the chicken is cooking prepare the ingredients for the rice and peas.
  6. Gently fry the onion in a good glug of vegetable oil until soft, then add the crushed garlic and fry for another minute.
  7. Add the basmati rice and stir around in the pan until coated in the oil, onions and garlic.
  8. Shake the coconut milk can, then pour into the rice pan.
  9. Refill the empty coconut milk can with water and pour over the rice.
  10. Add the drained peas & beans, fresh thyme, plenty of salt and pepper, and the whole scotch bonnet if using (I don't use it as Colette prefers the rice mild, but it is more traditional to leave it in. Just DO NOT chop it!)
  11. Bring to the boil then reduce the heat and simmer with a lid on for 20-25 minutes or until the liquid has been almost completely absorbed and the rice is cooked. Season to taste before serving.
  12. Serve with a fresh green salad, coleslaw, and a bottle of hot sauce for any chilli heads who may be dining.
This tastes fantastic cooked in the oven but is also a perfect BBQ dish, with the smoke adding to the intense flavour of the chicken. Plus the rice and peas will stay warm for ages with the lid on, and tastes nearly as good served cold!

My ideal choice of beer to match with this would be something like a Boch, in fact the Anchor
Bock would be perfect if served nice and cool, but I didn't have one in the fridge when the food was ready so another Anchor beer, Liberty Ale, stepped in instead. A pretty good match it was too.

Anchor Liberty Ale is a dry hopped beer made with top fermenting ale yeast, resulting in a fantastic balance between a base of clean malt and really nice floral hops. It's very aromatic tasting with slight herbal flavours at the end where it becomes dry with floral, perfumed hops. This works well with the Thyme used in the chicken and rice, but the beers clean flavour and champagne like carbonation also help to cut through the richness of the dish. That said, it's not over the top and is hugely drinkable with a definite English sense of balance to it. Who said American beers were one dimensional?

Overall this is a balanced, refreshing beer that you could drink loads of, and one which would pair well with a mulitude of spiced, barbecue style dishes including this jerk chicken.


  1. Sounds great! I had a wild week a while ago when I went jerk chicken crazy. The first batch I made some coleslaw and had it with a US double IPA which was ace and the second batch I did like this with rice and peas and served it with Hardknott Infra Red and it was another good match.

    I like the idea of a bock though, especially a fairly strong one. It's got the full body and the malt sweetness to handle the spice. Nice idea.

  2. Yeh I've found Bocks work really well with spicy dishes like this for that very reason. Thanks for your comments guys

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