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Jamaican Jerk Sauce

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Recipe adopted by Peggy Trowbridge Filippone's recipe via About.com.  [Recipe makes roughly 1 cup, or enough to marinate a 6 to 9 pound roast].

Jerk sauce is one of those things that most of us have tried before (and loved), but haven't even thought of making it at home despite its ease in preparation.  Although there are many variations out there, the two main ingredients that give jerk sauce its distinct flavor are allspice berries and Scotch bonnet peppers.  [Side note:  If you're after Scotch bonnet peppers rather than the similar habañero peppers, check your local Asian market first.  Most grocery stores only carry habañeros].  Other common ingredients include garlic, thyme, cinnamon, and nutmeg.  Once you have your sauce made, marinade your favorite cut of meat overnight, and then either slow cook on the grill or roast low and slow in the oven.

INGREDIENTS:

1/2 cup allspice berries
3 1/2 ounces (~1/2 cup) brown sugar, packed
7 garlic cloves
4 to 6 Scotch bonnet peppers (or substitute with habañero peppers in a pinch)
1 tablespoon dried thyme or 3 tablespoons fresh thyme leaves
2 bunches scallions, roughly chopped (both whites and greens)
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg
2 teaspoons kosher salt
2 tablespoons soy sauce

**Ingredient Update!  Per the Jamaican/African cuisine expert (and fellow Wisconsin foodie), Yollande Deacon, the above recipe is a great Port Antonio style jerk sauce, but to give it a little twist, try using 1/3 cup sugar (rather than 1/2 cup), fresh thyme rather than dried, and 3 tablespoons of vinegar or orange juice.  I'll for sure be giving these suggestions a try the next time around!**

DIRECTIONS:

If you prefer smooth sauces, run your allspice berries and dried thyme (if you're not using fresh thyme leaves) through a coffee grinder before proceeding.  [Side note:  If you prefer some texture in your sauce, this step can be skipped].

To prepare your Scotch bonnet peppers trim off the stems, cut in half, and remove the seeds and interior membranes.  [Side note:  Either wear latex gloves to protect your skin from any contact with the insides of the peppers, or use a pair of tongs to handle the peppers while slicing with your other hand.  Direct contact with the oils in the peppers will cause your skin to burn, so safety first!].

Add the allspice, brown sugar, garlic, peppers, thyme, scallions, cinnamon, nutmeg, salt, and soy sauce to a food processor.  Pulse several times until everything is evenly dispersed, and then run the processor for 30 seconds, or until your desired consistency is met.

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