Govanhill Cookbook

Jerk Chicken, Rice and Peas

Jerk is a style of cooking native to Jamaica in which meat is marinated with a very hot spice mixture called Jamaican jerk spice. Jerk seasoning principally relies upon two items: allspice (called “pimento” in Jamaica) and other ingredients include cloves, cinnamon, scallions, nutmeg, thyme, garlic, and salt. The term jerk is said to come from the word charqui, a Spanish term of Quechua origin for jerked or dried meat, which eventually became jerky in English. Jamaican jerk sauce is African as the origins can be traced back to the pre-slavery days of the Cormantee hunters of West Africa. When the British invaded Jamaica in 1655 the Spanish colonists fled, leaving behind a large number of African slaves. Rather than be re-enslaved by the British, they escaped into Jamaica’s mountainous regions where they mixed in with the local Taínos.


  • 4 chicken breasts
  • 4 spring onions
  • small bunch fresh thyme
  • 3 fresh bay leaves
  • 1 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 4 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 1 tbs runny honey
  • 1 Scotch bonnet chilli seeded

Rice and Peas

  • 3 finely chopped spring onions
  • Olive oil Cinnamon stick 300g rice washed
  • 400ml stock
  • 200ml coconut cream Black beans tinned, drain and washed


  1. Flatten chicken by cutting the breast into half lengthways, putting one piece between two pieces of Clingfilm and flattening with a rolling pin
  2. Mix all the ingredients together except the chicken to make a marinade.
  3. Marinate the chicken in half of the marinade mixture for 30 minutes or more.
  4. Add all the ingredients, including the remaining half of the marinade in an oven proof dish and cook on high in the oven for 15-20 minutes

Rice and Peas

  1. Gently fry spring onions in olive oil
  2. Add rice and coat grains. Add stock, cinnamon stick and black beans
  3. Half way through the cooking add the coconut milk.
  4. Keep lid on rice and once liquid is absorbed switch off heat and place the lid of the pan over a tea towel over the rice Lime pieces to garnish.

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