JERK CHICKEN WITH PINEAPPLE BLACK BEAN SALSA
Are you looking forward to another simple meal preparation (or evening meal for the week)? It’s a must! Jerk Chicken with Pineapple Black Bean Salsa is straightforward to make but still high on the summery taste. Its spicy spice blend complements that sweet and refreshing pineapple salsa, and the beans provide the bulk and protein to the meal without increasing the price. Even better, serving this hot or serving the leftovers cold to enjoy a refreshing lunch is possible.
WHAT IS JERK SEASONING?
Jerk seasoning is an acrid, sweet, savory, and sour mix of spices from Jamaican cuisine. The flavorful blend typically includes spicy bell peppers (Scotch Bonnet), garlic, thyme and cinnamon, allspice, cloves, ginger, and other spices. The spices are typically used in chicken, pork, or fish marinade forms. However, the dry spice mix is a great way to spice almost any food item. Learn more on the origins of jerk spice here.
As authentic jerk seasoning has certain ingredients I usually don’t have, I picked up an unblended bottle of Jerk seasoning from the supermarket (see pictures below). If you’d like to create your version, check out this recipe to make Jerk spicing from Immaculate Bites.
CAN I SUBSTITUTE THE CHICKEN BREAST?
If you don’t have boneless skinless chicken breasts, you can prepare this recipe using boneless thighs of chicken, shrimp, or salmon. The best part about the jerk spice blend is that it’s fantastic with everything! So if you’re considering buying a few for this recipe, I guarantee you’ll use it more.
CAN I SUBSTITUTE THE JASMINE RICE?
You are welcome to substitute the white jasmine rice I used in this recipe for brown rice or quinoa. You could also try something similar to Cumin Lime Coleslaw for those who want to boost the amount of vegetables in the dish. If you’re looking to go that extra mile, Savory Coconut Rice could be a fantastic choice to pair with the flavors!
MEAL PREP IT!
This recipe is excellent for preparing your weekly meals. Divide the portions tointo single-serving containers, which’ll be kept in the refrigerator for around four days.
4 cups cooked rice ($0.70)
Pineapple Black Bean Salsa
2 cups pineapple tidbits* ($0.50)
1 15oz. can black beans, rinsed well ($0.89)
1/3 cup red onion finely diced ($0.16)
1/2 cup finely chopped cilantro ($0.17)
One lime ($0.75)
One teaspoon crushed fresh red pepper (optional) ($0.02)
1/4 teaspoon salt, or according to your preference ($0.02)
Two skinless, boneless chicken breasts (about 2/3 1 lb. each) ($6.42)
1 Tbsp jerk seasoning ($0.030)
1 Tbsp of cooking oil ($0.04)
Begin cooking your rice first. If you plan to pack the rice for meals, Transfer the rice you have cooked into your containers for meal prep and store them in the refrigerator until you complete the remainder of the recipe to begin cooling down.
While the rice cooks, make the salsa with black beans and coarsely chop the pineapple bits into smaller pieces similar to black beans. Put the pineapple pieces, the black beans that have been rinsed, diced red onion, and chopped cilantro into an enormous bowl.
Make sure you squeeze the juice of one-half of the lime (about one tablespoon) into the mixing bowl. Also, add 1/4 teaspoon salt and some crushed red pepper (optional). Mix the ingredients and taste, then add water or lemon juice if needed. Any lime that is not used can be cut into wedges and squeezed on the chicken before serving.
Then, cook the chicken jerk. Pat your chicken’s breasts dry using an absorbent paper towel. Cover a piece with plastic wrap on top of the chicken to avoid splashes, and then lightly press the chicken breasts into an even thickness using a roller or a mallet. Apply the Jerk Seasoning on each side of your chicken, and apply your fingers to massage it onto the chicken’s surface to ensure they’re thoroughly coated.
Incorporate the cooking oil in an enormous skillet, or heat your grill. When the grill is ready, cook the chicken, then cook until the chicken is well-browned on both sides and the chicken is cooked to perfection (about 7 minutes on each side). The chicken should no longer appear pink in the middle, as the liquids will flow clear. To ensure your safety, you can use a quick-read meat thermometer. Cook until internal temp has reached 160oF.
Transfer the cooked chicken onto an unclean cutting board and allow it to rest in the refrigerator for 5 minutes. In five minutes, cut the chicken into half-wide strips.
To serve, spread approximately 1 cup of the cooked rice onto a platter or in a dish-washing container, then top it with about a cup of salsa of black beans and pineapple and a few pieces of Jerk chicken. Cut the lime into wedges, then squeeze freshly squeezed juice on the chicken before serving.