Recipe: Matt Preston’s Dried Chicken from his New World of Flavor Cookbook

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Award-winning food journalist, radio presenter, television personality and best-selling cookbook author Matt Preston is back with a new cookbook: Matt Preston’s world of flavors.

The premise of this new cookbook is right in the title. In this colorful new version, Preston brings together our favorite and tasty dishes from around the world. Some of the recipes are in their classic style, others have a special “matte touch”. They all come with intriguing and debunking stories behind them.

To celebrate the release of Matt Preston’s world of flavors we are happy to bring you this, the first of two excerpts from the book. It’s time to don the apron and try Preston’s Jerked Chicken.

Sautéed Chicken

FOR 4 PEOPLE | PREPARATION 20 minutes (plus marinade) | COOK 20 minutes

Myth

The barbecue is originally from Jamaica.

My truth

Local legend has it that Jamaica’s Blue Mountains got their name from the barbecue smoke that constantly floated above the stove, and this is where the famous Jamaican tradition of grilling spicy cured meats comes from.

Jerk itself is a traditional cooking method native to the chestnuts of the region. These communities date back to runaway slaves who joined with the indigenous Taino people in the inaccessible interior of Jamaica to escape Spanish or English slave owners.

The Maroons predate the English capture of Jamaica from the Spaniards in 1655, but their numbers exploded immediately after the invasion, as the slaves took the opportunity to escape once the Spaniards left and before they cannot be put to work by the new colonial government.

The traditional way of the Taino people to cook or dry meat for preservation was on a raised trellis of green wood – normally local chili wood, from the tree that gives us allspice berries. We know this because when Christopher Columbus first landed in the Caribbean in 1492, he saw Tainos cooking meat on a grid of intertwined green wooden sticks raised over a fire. It immediately earned the name barbacoa in Spanish, taken from the word taino for such a grill.

Of course, back in the days when the Maroons were hiding in the country’s mountainous interior, the smoke would have been an obvious signal to colonial militias seeking to eradicate them or enslave them. Thus, the slow cooking and drying of the meat became something that was done in ground ovens, where the smoke would be contained, rather than on green wooden grates. It was an approach similar to that of a Maori Hāngī or a Fijian Lovo. The meat was typically wrapped in agave-like maguey leaves before being covered with soil to retain both heat and smoke. The chili wood used for the fires in these pit ovens, and the native Scottish bonnet peppers, gave the jerk its signature flavor, while the roasted maguey leaves impart a caramelized sweetness.

When the Chestnuts no longer had to fear being captured, they returned to slow cooking the meat over the fire with grilled green chilli peppers. When the technique was first exported, the lack of the characteristic chilli wood meant that Jamaicans were homesick by improvising using the tree’s dried allspice berries in a blend of spices to make a portion of this flavor.

The history of jerk is so closely linked to the history of the barbecue that it is practically an ancestor of everything we cook today on charcoal or gas in our backyards. Thus, the Taino peoples of the Caribbean islands like Jamaica can claim to be the creators of barbecue. However, if we retrace the history of jerk, we realize that this technique is much older, and the first barbecues may have been born further south.

Most researchers believe the Taino came to the Caribbean from South America. The Arawak language group, of which Taino is considered a part, stretched from the Colombian Andes to the northern coast of Brazil and included part of the Amazon basin. The circum-Caribbean theory adopted by American anthropologist Julian Haynes Steward postulates that the Taino came to the Caribbean from the Andes.

Here in Latin America, Europeans also saw indigenous peoples cooking on a grill made of green sticks, and called it boucan, after the tupi term for the technique (buccan). The Tupi are another important language group in northern South America. This shows us that the technique of drying, smoking and cooking meat on a grill was common practice in the region where the Taino are believed to originate.

The most plausible explanation for the origin of the words “jerk” and “jerk” is that they come from the Andes and the local Quechuan word for the smoky, slow drying process, charqi.

All of this seems to indicate that the Taino brought grilling techniques from South America with them when they migrated to the Caribbean.

Interestingly, the process of underground cooking of leaf-wrapped ingredients like maguey is still common in Mexico as barbacoa. It is not certain whether this technique originated in the region, or whether it spread from Central America or across the Caribbean.

So with all this evidence, linguistic and otherwise, it seems that the origins of barbecue and jerk are in South America and not the Caribbean, so I don’t feel at all guilty for giving it a local touch by increasing it. spices !

1 kg of chicken wings (or bites of wings)
2 tablespoons of olive oil
cilantro sprigs, to serve
lime wedges, for serving

Jerk marinade
1 small brown onion, roughly chopped
3 spring onions, roughly chopped
2 long fresh red peppers, seeded but the veins left to heat, coarsely chopped (see Tips)
1⁄4 cup coarsely chopped cilantro
3 garlic cloves, crushed
3 cm ginger nuts, peeled, finely grated
2 tablespoons of brown sugar
1 tablespoon ground allspice
1 tablespoon of fresh thyme leaves
2 teaspoons of salt
1 teaspoon of black pepper
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1⁄2 teaspoon of nutmeg
1 tablespoon of lime juice

Combine all the ingredients for the jerk marinade in a food processor until a smooth paste forms (the mixture is a wet paste).

Place the chicken in a glass or ceramic bowl. Add the marinade and toss to coat. Cover and place in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes, or overnight, to marinate.

Preheat a barbecue to medium heat. Drizzle the chicken with oil. Add to the barbecue grill. Cook, turning regularly for 3 to 4 minutes per side over direct heat, then move and cook over indirect heat for 15 minutes until cooked through. Alternatively, once you’ve colored the wings on the grill, transfer them to a roasting pan and bake at 180 ° C (160 ° C on hot air) for 10 minutes until cooked through. . (Keep an eye out for small pieces of fins, as they will take less time than larger pieces. When cooked, move them to the side of the grill to keep them warm while the larger pieces cook. .)

Stack your chicken on a serving platter and sprinkle with cilantro. Serve with lime wedges.

TIPS
If you have a little time and don’t like the tendons around the exposed upper part of your wingette bones, they are easy to remove – just cut the cartilage and bone. Then put the flesh back along the bone, cutting off any cartilage that is still attached. Now remove the bones while relaxing the meat. Once the bones have been removed, roll the flesh so that the skin is facing outwards.

For a more authentic and much hotter burn, use Scotch bonnet or habanero peppers instead of long red peppers. You can also serve them with soft buttered buns and sour cream, which will tame any wild heat and allow the spices to shine.

Made of food nerd
The word tupi boucan was used by both the Spanish and the French to designate lawless hunters who set up camps on Tortuga and Hispaniola to hunt wild pigs. They would bleed the pork and prepare the lard for sale to passing ships that needed to restock their provisions.

Since the region was a hotbed of piracy and state licensed privateers from France and privateers from Holland and England, all preying on the Spanish gold galleons, and many boucan traders have turned up. registered to work for privateers like Sir Francis Drake, the name buccaneer or buccaneer has become synonymous with being something of a pirate.

Matt Preston’s world of flavors is now out of Penguin Random House Australia. Get a copy of Booktopia HERE.

Header photo: Matt Preston by William Meppem


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