Recipe: Jerk chicken with mango salsa

[Recipe adapted from Cuisine Tonight print magazine]

This recipe makes about two servings. (Original recipe said it yielded four servings, but who’s full after two drumsticks? Come on, now. I’d also rather eat more chicken than add a side of rice or whatever.) I like making a lot of extra sauce (at least double this recipe) to keep in the freezer for later use. Takes the same amount of time; why not?

Sauce
1/2 cup ketchup
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup cider vinegar (or regular if that’s what you have)
3 tbsp. low-sodium soy sauce
2 tbsp. Pickapeppa sauce*
1 tbsp. Jamaican jerk seasoning (There are usually a few to pick from in the “ethnic” aisle of any grocery store. I went with Grace brand [hot] jerk seasoning.)
1 tsp. sea or kosher salt… or normal salt. Whatever
8 chicken drumsticks
salt and pepper
a few shots of tequila

Salsa
1 mango, peeled and diced
3/4 cup diced red bell pepper
1 serrano chile, seeded and minced
2  tbsp. minced red onion
2 tbsp. lime juice
2 tsp. brown sugar
1 tsp minced ginger

1. Have a shot of tequila. Wee!

2. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line a baking sheet with tin foil and spray with nonstick spray.

3. In a medium saucepan over low heat, combine ketchup, 1/4 cup brown sugar, vinegar, soy sauce, Pickapeppa sauce, jerk seasoning and salt. Heat up for about 10 minutes, stirring often to make sure nothing sticks to the bottom of the saucepan.

* Pickapeppa sauce, sometimes called “Jamaican ketchup,” is dee-lish. Mild, sweet, yummy. If you don’t have any, can’t find any, or don’t want to buy any, throw in a couple tablespoons of Worcestershire sauce instead — or any other kind of salsa-y goodness. Recipes are merely guidelines, anyway.

After it’s started boiling (10-15 minutes), take it off the heat and add 2 ounces of tequila. Not only does this make the sauce 2 ounces more awesome, but it keeps the sauce from freezing if you throw it in the freezer — making it a very good little concoction to keep in the freezer on standby, ready to use whenever.

4. Arrange drumsticks on the baking sheet and season with salt and pepper.

5. Pour some (about two cups) of the sauce into a bowl, so you don’t contaminate the rest of it. Using sauce from the bowl, brush sauce all over the tops of the drumsticks and pop into the oven for about 20 minutes. After 20 minutes, take them out, flip ’em, and brush the other sides with sauce. Lower the temp to 375 degrees and return to oven. Brush with sauce again 20 minutes later, for a total roasting time of 1 hour.

6. While that’s baking, make the salsa. Combine the mango, bell pepper, serrano, onion, lime juice, 2 tsp of brown sugar and ginger and mix well. Note that the seeds are what make the serrano hot, so be sure you scrape some out if you prefer a milder salsa. Chill until ready to serve.

And that’s it. When the chicken’s done — you might want to cut into one of the uglier pieces to make sure nothing’s pink — stack a couple on a plate and serve with the salsa. Brush the finished chicken pieces with some sauce (using a clean brush). Optional: Throw some chopped cilantro in that salsa. Cilantro makes everything better.

You can also serve this with some herbed rice with mint if you’re trying to be fancy, or if you don’t think four drumsticks and salsa is enough to fill you up. But as is, this is a pretty damn healthy, low-carb dish — which is a lovely surprise, for how good it is.

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