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Jerk Chicken - Substitute for Rum?

Asked by ISaid. Answered on 28th August 2011

Full question

Hi! Absolutely love Nigella's recipes and will be using the Homestyle Jerk Chicken with Rice and Peas recipe from Kitchen (p343). The last time I made it I omitted the rum entirely and felt it might be lacking in something. This time, I'm cooking for 12 and want to make sure I get it perfect as we're celebrating a birthday and Eid (a Muslim festival) next week. What can I substitute for rum and also, since the recipe serves 6 could I simply double it? Thanks! Eiman

Our answer

The rum in the jerk chicken marinade will evaporate as the chicken cooks so the finished dish should not contain any alcohol but the underlying flavour of the rum will add a little extra flavour. We would suggest as a start using pineapple juice as a substitute for the rum (use 60ml/4 tablespoons/1/4 cup). The flavour of dark rum is often described as caramel, treacle or molasses so if you like you could also add a tiny bit of treacle or molasses (1/2 teaspoon) or just add an extra teaspoon or so of dark muscovado sugar (dark brown sugar).

If you are using fresh pineapple juice then we suggest you only marinate the chicken for 2-4 hours as fresh pineapple contains an enzyme called bromelain which can turn the uncooked chicken slightly mushy if it is in contact with the chicken for too long. However pasteurized pineapple juice (from a can or long life carton) is fine for overnight marinating as the enzyme is killed off during the pasteurization process.

It is fine to double the quantities of both the marinade and chicken. However we suggest you split this larger quantity between 2 or 3 shallow roasting tins (pans) as the chicken will be too crowded in one pan.

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