I know a recipe is good when I don’t have to ask someone how it is. They just tell me. In a way, I’ve been super proud of what I’ve been able to research recently when it comes to Caribbean flavors. By no means do I claim myself an expert, but I absolutely appreciate all of the complex flavors they are able to create in their dishes. One of the main things you’ll hear might be in the form of jerk spice.
The term jerk spice is related to the rub that often used to coat the outside surface of different meats before they were cooked/smoked. It also is one of the key identifying flavors for Jamaican cuisine. It’s origins point toward tribes within Jamaica that began the practice of jerking, which involves poking holes into meat to help absorb flavor. Smokey, spicy, a little sweet and most important is making sure that the flavors fully infuse into the food.
This made me go to the store…which ultimately led me to the spice aisle. This only caused me to be disappointed that there was no jerk spice available. So I decided to make my own instead based on the multiple resources I’ve found over the last month. I’m sure it is far from truly authentic, but it does combine a lot of the traditional seasonings you find in the typical seasoning mix.
It’s a long list, but make a batch and you are set for a few meals at least.
Homemade Jerk Spice Blend
- 1 tbsp onion powder
- 1 tbsp garlic powder
- 1 tbsp smoked paprika
- 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
- 2 tsp dry thyme
- 2 tsp dry parsley
- 1/2 tsp cinnamon
- 1/4 tsp nutmeg
- 1/2 tsp allspice
- 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1/4 tsp pepper
Add ingredients to a jar, seal and shake and you are ready to go.
Dinner was definitely more delicious with it. So if you want to know the first recipe you should make with this spice blend, I highly recommend making some beans and veggies flavorful with it. The following recipe is definitely a keeper for me.Print
Global eating is so important, and I feel like I'm able to experience a little more by learning about jerk spice. So delicious and if you're lucky enough, hopefully you can find this spice in your international section of your store.
- 1 cup dry lentils
- 1/2 red onion (diced)
- 1 red bell pepper (diced)
- 1 inch fresh ginger (minced)
- 1 15 oz can diced tomatoes
- 5 cloves garlic (minced)
- 1 1/2 tbsp jerk seasoning (homemade or store bought)
- 2 tsp brown mustard
- 2 tsp maple syrup
- 3 cups mushroom or vegetable broth
- Juice of 1/2 a lime
- Zest of 1 lime
- In a medium pot, add in onion and saute until softened, about 3 minutes.
- Add in ginger, garlic and bell pepper and saute until garlic and ginger become fragrant, about 2-3 minutes.
- Add in lentils, tomatoes, jerk seasoning, mustard and maple syrup.
- Stir to combine and then add broth.
- Bring mixture to a boil, then reduce heat down to a simmer.
- Cover lentils and allow to cook for 20-25 minutes or until most of liquid is absorbed by the lentils and lentils have become tender.
- Add in lime zest and lime juice, stir and remove from heat to serve.
- Save some prep time by purchasing pre-mince ginger and garlic (definitely no shame doing that).
- Really great as a meal prep item paired with either rice or plantains and some veggies like spinach.
Keywords: jerk spice, lentils
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