My inspiration for this recipe was a recent sailing trip to the British Virgin Islands. The warm, tropical temperature, the brilliant turquoise water and the laid back atmosphere of this part of the world are nothing short of amazing. Most of the beachside restaurants offered jerk chicken.
This recipe packs flavor. I’ve tried to keep the ingredients to a minimum while still all the necessary ones to make the marinade taste authentic. Habanero chiles are the small orange ones in the produce section. They are spicy! Be sure to remove the seeds (they have ¾ of the spiciness) and wash your hands, knife and cutting board thoroughly after touching them. I have given a range on the amount of the Habanero for those that like it spicier.
Boneless, skinless chicken breasts pounded thinly make grilling go quickly. Bone-in and skin on chicken can be used and will have more flavor from the skin and bones.
The Cilantro Lime dipping sauce gives each bite of chicken a cooling effect.
- ½ cup chopped green onions
- 2-3 tablespoons (2-3 chiles) coarsely chopped Habanero chiles (seeds removed)
- 3 medium garlic cloves
- ¼ cup olive oil
- ¼ cup lime juice
- 1 tablespoon allspice
- 2 teaspoons thyme leaves
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- ½ teaspoon cinnamon
- Fresh ground black pepper
- 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, about 6 ounces each (bone-in, skin on chicken breasts can be substituted)
- Fresh lime wedges
- Cilantro Lime Sauce:
- 1 cup sour cream (light sour cream can be used)
- 1 cup chopped cilantro leaves
- 2 tablespoons lime juice
- 1 teaspoon honey
- Kosher salt
- Cayenne pepper
- Puree green onions, Habaneros, garlic, olive oil, lime juice, allspice, thyme leaves, salt, cinnamon and black pepper in a food processor until smooth, scraping down sides a few times.
- Pound chicken breasts to ½-inch thickness.
- Marinate the chicken in the jerk marinade, refrigerated, at least one hour or overnight, turning once during marinating.
- For the Cilantro Lime Sauce, puree sour cream, cilantro, lime juice and honey until smooth; season with salt and pepper. Cover and refrigerate until using.
- Preheat the grill to medium heat.
- Grill chicken until cooked halfway, about 8 minutes; turn and cook until chicken is cooked through (internal temperature 165 degrees F) about 6-8 minutes longer. If using bone-in, skin on chicken breasts, put the skin side down on the grill first and allow about 10-15 minutes extra time for cooking.
- Serve grilled chicken with Cilantro Lime Sauce for dipping and lime wedges for squeezing over chicken.