CEimB: Jerk Chicken and Tofu with Cool Pineapple Salsa

by Joanne on May 14, 2009

This weeks CEimB was picked by Jen of Notes from the Table.  She is on vacation but has already posted the results of her cooking experience with this recipe from Ellie Kriegers, “The Food You Crave”, page 215. 

A note to all my fellow CEimB-ers…. I will be on the road Thursday and unfortunately will miss commenting on your posts.  But Friday or during the weekend, my curiosity will get the better of me so be prepared for a visit and a word or two.

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Jerk Chicken with cool pineapple salsa

 

Cooking the recipe was a bit challenging this week because I’m not in my own kitchen.  However, Sue, my sister, is with me on vacation in South Carolina and she loves to cook with Ellie as well. We both had a blast fixing up this meal for all of us.  I used tofu for me in place of the chicken.

 

We did use all fresh ingredients.  I could not resist the excuse to buy a fresh pineapple.  The mint is right from my father’s garden.  Unfortunately, the bees would not give up the honey so that isn’t as fresh as we would like, but the stuff in the bottle looked just as well.  I chose not to buy the habanero pepper because no one but me enjoys hot and spicy.  My mother’s stomach goes into major rebellion if even the thought of putting a hot pepper to her mouth occurs.  Sue wanted to buy red pepper flakes and use them.  Only a pinch of red pepper flakes were added to the mix. 

 We made the salsa 2 hours in advance.

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Cool Pineapple Salsa

We chopped and mixed the scallion mixture an hour in advance.  We mixed up the broth and soy sauce so it was ready to simply pour in at the appropriate time. Come 5:30 pm, we were all set to turn on the heat.

 Here is the recipe:

Salsa:  1 TBS honey, 1 TBS fresh chopped mint, and 1 TBS lime juice.  Mix the three.  Peel and dice a fresh pineapple and use 1 cup for this recipe.  Seed and dice to get 1/3 cup of English cucumber. Mix everything together and put into the fridge until the chicken/tofu is ready.

 The Chicken/Tofu: 4 TBS olive oil. 4 boneless,skinless chicken breasts (of course you have to pound the heck out of them until they are about 1/2 “ thick). Sue drew the job of pounding the chicken. Note the pounding utensil.  Mum apparently doesn’t beat her meat…hmmm, should I change the wording on that last sentence?…ANYWAY…she just doesn’t have the “gadgets” I have so we made do…

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Sue beats the bird

1 Cup chopped scallions. ½ Scotch Bonnet or Habanero Pepper (we used red pepper flakes).  1 clove garlic, minced. 1 tsp each of the following:  ginger (if fresh, if not use ¼ tsp ground), allspice.  ½ tsp dried thyme. ½ cup low-sodium chicken broth and 2 TBS each of low-sodium soy sauce and fresh lime juice.

After making the salsa, cooking the chicken is easy. Heat 2 tsp olive oil over medium high and when hot add the chicken until brown, about 4 min. per side. Transfer to a plate to keep warm. Add 2 more tsp oil to pan, reduce heat to medium and add scallions, pepper, garlic, ginger, allspice and thyme. Cook 30 seconds then add the soy sauce and broth. Reduce to ½ (about 3 minutes) add the lime juice and return chicken to pan.  Serve the chicken topped with the pineapple salsa.

 Sue didn’t cook the chicken long enough….she thought it was thinner than the recipe called for. It need a bit more time so she added it back to the sauce for a little longer in order to finish it off.

 As for the opinions of this dish… on a rating system of 1 to 4 stars, I would say it fell at about a 2 ½ to 3 for our family.  The pineapple salsa received rave reviews.  But it completely washed away any other flavors we added to the chicken and the tofu.  My father is of the opinion that once you take the bone and skin away from the chicken, it becomes tasteless.  Tofu begins tasteless and you have to add flavors. I added flavor by rubbing it with the spices before cooking as well as adding the spices when it was cooking.  The salsa STILL took over all the other tastes.

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Jerk Tofu with Cool Pineapple Salsa

 

Sue intends to cook this dish again but said she will definitely add the habanero or other hot pepper to spice it up because, both she and I agree that the spiciness coupled with the pineapple was the whole point of this dish and we unfortunately missed it.  Oh well….

 Good job Jen on this weeks pick.  This family, reunited for a week in South Carolina, enjoyed cooking it up and eating it.

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13 Comments

  • At 2009.05.14 08:38, Margaret said:

    When we get some decent weather here I will have to make this wonderful dish.
    As an ex Leicestershire girl – where did your parents live – that is, if you don’t mind me asking?

    • At 2009.05.14 09:45, nick said:

      “Mum apparently doesn’t beat her meat…hmmm, should I change the wording on that last sentence?”

      Definitely not.

      I also ate mine sans pepper as Sara is super-aggressive-anti-hotness even though I love it. I liked the dish as was but agree with your sister that if its made again it MUST contain said pepper, or at least something spicy.

      Good job w/the improv chicken beating, btw!

      • At 2009.05.14 10:41, macduff said:

        This looks awesome! And I totally have been dreaming about a vacation to South Carolina…I loved Charleston. You should post some pics of your trip!

        • At 2009.05.14 11:13, Liz said:

          “Mum apparently doesn’t beat her meat…hmmm, should I change the wording on that last sentence?”

          This sentence made me literally laugh out loud. 🙂

          I have to be honest that I am pretty much a happy meat eater, but you have some really yummy looking vegetarian swaps. The picture of the Jerk Tofu is awesome!

          • At 2009.05.14 11:48, Sara said:

            Your salsa looks great! You are right that the spice paired with the cool pineapple was the whole point of this dish, I guess that is why this was not one of my favs.

            • At 2009.05.14 12:15, Geoff said:

              Ahhh. Gadgets. A meat-pounder is a meat-pounder… Even if it is the bottom of a pan!

              (I usually use my super-heavy cast iron skillet- it’s large enough to cover most cuts and i’ve NEVER torn anything pounding with it.)

              • At 2009.05.14 16:17, Peggy said:

                We loved this. Yours looks so delicious. I’m definitely making it again and next time will use fresh pineapple in it. I used to use my rolling pin to beat out the chickees, but last week I bought a mallet and it works so much better! A good $5 investment. Have fun on your trip!

                • At 2009.05.14 19:11, Lori Lynn said:

                  I’d go for the spicy version for sure.

                  Haha – “Sue beats the bird.”

                  LL

                  • At 2009.05.15 02:10, Farah said:

                    This looks great 🙂

                    • At 2009.05.15 11:48, applec said:

                      Margaret: Responded via email…but used to LOVE Milton Mawbry Pork Pie when I ate meat. I used to bug my parents to “smuggle” it over when returning from trips to the UK. Unfortunately they were too honest… My grandmother on the other hand….;)

                      Nick: I think I saw someone else beat the chicken with a frying pan on CEimB which is where the idea came from.

                      Macduff: I only posted a few pics from around Heritage. Love Charleston as well.

                      Liz: I think because I browned the tofu really well, it looked better in pics than the chicken.

                      Sara: I will use the pepper next time but couldn’t make my mother suffer like that. She suffered enough with the fish we forced her to eat.

                      Geoff: We needed something light for Sue to whack around. But the iron pan would be a good choice.

                      Peggy: I’ve used the rolling pin method and thought it toughened the bird.

                      Lori Lynn: Yes, Sue got the job where she could beat out her frustrations.

                      Thanks Farah!

                      • At 2009.05.15 16:29, Leanne said:

                        Your tofu looks wonderful. I am also really jealous of your fresh ingredients. I love fresh pineapple. Hope you had a great time on vacation.

                        • At 2009.05.15 18:27, pamela said:

                          I love the way that the tofu looks. We really enjoyed the pineapple salsa, even if it was missing the mint. An overall tasty recipe.

                          • At 2009.05.16 09:49, Soma said:

                            I love that pineapple salsa!! I can eat spicy, but i think i would not be able to do the scotch bonnets.. but the jerk should be spicy right! everything together looks good.. the purpose of the pineapple salsa is to cool of the heat of the scotch bonnets:-D

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