Recipe: Jerk Chicken Skillet Dinner

Recipe: Jerk Chicken Skillet Dinner

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Kelli Foster
Apr 4, 2018
(Image credit: Joe Lingeman)

I can't tell you the last time I've been as excited about any recipe as I've been about this one. I knew from the rich, savory aromas wafting from my oven that this skillet was going to be a showstopper before I even tasted it. And boy did it deliver!

From the crispy-skinned thighs coated with the warm heat only jerk seasoning can deliver, to the rice scented with coconut milk, this one-skillet meal is all about the how much flavor you can pack into a single pan.

(Image credit: Joe Lingeman)

Why You Need to Keep Jerk Seasoning in Your Fridge

Jamaican jerk seasoning packs a wallop of herby, fiery, and tangy flavors unlike anything else. "Jerk" usually refers to a spice blend, which originated in Jamaica, but also often includes the cooking technique of meat smoked or grilled over branches of allspice.

While the ingredients for jerk seasoning can vary slightly from recipe to recipe, there are two mainstays you should always expect to see: scotch bonnet peppers (think: one step up from habaneros in both heat and flavor) and allspice. These two ingredients are what makes jerk chicken taste like jerk chicken.

This recipe calls for wet jerk seasoning (like Grace or Walkerswood), rather than a jerk dry rub, so the flavor sinks in beyond the surface and into the chicken thighs. The prepared rub is easy to find in any grocery store with a robust international foods section. When using jerk seasoning, remember that a little goes a long way, so just a spoonful will do; it brings heat and spice to this skillet without totally overwhelming the dish.

To make this a whole meal, the chicken is partnered with a bed of rich, herbed coconut rice and beans — another flavor combination you'll often see in Jamaican dishes. Add a splash of vinegar for a tang, and this becomes a one-pan dinner standout you'll make again and again.

Jerk Chicken Skillet Dinner

Serves 4 to 6

  • 2 pounds

    bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs

  • 1 tablespoon

    store-bought wet jerk seasoning, such as Grace

  • 1/2 teaspoon

    kosher salt, plus more for seasoning

  • 1/4 teaspoon

    freshly ground black pepper, plus more for seasoning

  • 1 tablespoon

    olive oil

  • 1/2

    medium onion, diced

  • 2

    cloves garlic, minced

  • 1 cup

    long-grain white rice

  • 1

    (15-ounce) can red kidney beans, drained and rinsed

  • 1 cup

    unsweetened coconut milk

  • 1 cup

    low-sodium chicken broth

  • 1

    bay leaf

  • 3 sprigs

    fresh thyme

  • 2 teaspoons

    distilled white vinegar

Arrange a rack in the middle of the oven and heat to 350°F.

Pat the chicken thighs dry with paper towels. Place the chicken thighs and jerk seasoning in a large bowl and toss until well-coated. Season all over with salt and pepper. Heat the oil in a 10-inch or larger cast iron or oven-safe skillet over medium-high heat until shimmering. Add the chicken skin-side down and cook until the fat is rendered and the skin is crisp and golden-brown, 5 to 6 minutes. Flip the chicken and cook for 3 minutes. Transfer the chicken to a plate; set aside.

Reduce the heat to medium and add the onion to the pan. Cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 3 minutes. Add the garlic and cook 1 minute more. Add the rice, beans, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper, and stir to combine. Cook for 2 minutes. Stir in the coconut milk, chicken broth, and bay leaf. Bring to a boil. Remove the pan from the heat, place the chicken skin-side up on top of the rice (add any juices accumulated on the plate), and top with the thyme sprigs.

Bake until the chicken is cooked through and the rice is tender, 20 to 25 minutes.Transfer the chicken to plates. Add the vinegar to the skillet and stir into the rice. Discard the bay leaf and thyme sprigs and serve the rice with the chicken.

Recipe Notes

Storage: Leftovers will keep for up to 4 days stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator.

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