Sunday, August 29, 2010

Slow Cooker...Jamaican Jerk Style

My mother-in-law gave me a Cuisine at Home Slow Cooker Menus cook book and it ROCKS!  Cuisine at Home offers healthy recipes with GREAT cooking tips in their magazines.  Alex really digs Jamaican Jerk seasoning so I thought I would surprise him Barefoot Contessa style (you know how Ina Garten always surprises her husband Jeffery with some yummy meal when he comes home from business trips?) with a Jamaican Jerk-Chicken Sandwich.

I am so-so when it comes to Jamaican food.  I dig all the spices in the food, but sometimes it is a little unusual on my taste buds.  This recipe was AWESOME!!!!!  FREAKIN' EASY, too!!!!  If you are thinking cole slaw is blech...think again.  The coleslaw on top of the sandwich COMPLETES this recipe.  Notice the coleslaw is on the side in the picture...I couldn't fit it on the sandwich for a pretty picture, but we DID eat the coleslaw on top of the sandwiches.

Jamaican Jerk-Chicken Sandwich
3 Tbsp purchased Jamaican Jerk seasoning
3 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
1 tsp each kosher salt and black pepper
2 bone-in chicken breasts, skin removed - I couldn't find bone-in and it turned out GREAT
4 bone-in chicken thighs, skin removed
1 cup breked coffee
3 Tbsp fresh lime juice
3 Tbsp molasses
2 Tbsp seeded and minced jalapeno chile pepper
1 Tbsp minced garlic
6 ciabatta rolls
Mango Coleslaw

Combine jerk seasoning, oil, salt and pepper in a bowl.  Coat chicken with seasonings.  Place chicken pieces, bone side down, in a 4 to 6 quart slow cooker.

Stir together coffee, lime juice, molasses, jalapeno, and garlic for the sauce in a measuring cup with a pour spout. 

Add sauce to the slow cooker.  cover, cook on low-heat for 4-5 hours.  Remove chicken from slow cooker.  Remove and discard bones, then shred chicken. 

Return meat to the slow cooker, mixing with sauce in the slow cooker.

Serve chicken on sliced ciabatta bread topped with Mango Coleslaw.

Mango Coleslaw
1 pkg coleslaw mix
2 fresh mangos, peeled, pitted and diced (two cups)
1/4 cup minced fresh cilantro leaves
1/2 cup sour cream
1/2 cup mayonnaise
3 Tbsp fresh lime juice
1 Tbsp minced jalapeno chile pepper
2 tspminced lime zest
1 tsp minced garlic
1 tsp each kosher salt and black pepper

Combine coleslaw mix, mangos and clinatro into a bowl. 

Whisk together sour cream, mayonnaise, lime juice, lime zest, jalapeno, garlic, salt and pepper;

stir into coleslaw mixture.

Chocolate Bacon Cupcakes

Apparently the new rage is baking with bacon. (?)  Yes, I said baking with bacon.  Some friends of ours visited a bakery in Boulder, Colorado that sells chocolate bacon cupcakes and of course, I HAD to test them out.  I figured the salty sweet combination would ROCK!  It was unique for sure, but I don't think I will be making these babies again any time soon. 

My only concern with this recipe was baking the bacon INTO the cake batter.  Bacon is supposed to be crispy and I was worried the bacon would become soft during baking.  It did.  I think I would have preferred to ONLY have bacon on top as a garnish.  The chocolate cake recipe without the bacon is AWESOME!!!! 

I used the Hershey's Chocolate Frosting recipe from th back of the Hershey's cocoa box. FREAKING AMAZING!!! I'm not kidding you, this is the BEST chocolate frosting I have EVER had!!!! So if the whole bacon cupcake thing didn't meet my expections, at least I found a killer chocolate cupcake and frosting recipe. ENJOY!

Chocolate Bacon Cupcakes
12 slices bacon

2 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
2 cups white sugar
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
2 eggs
1 cup cold, strong, brewed coffee
1 cup buttermilk
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder, for dusting

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C). Place bacon in a large, deep skillet. Cook over medium-high heat until evenly brown. Drain, crumble and set aside.

In a large bowl, stir together the flour, 3/4 cup cocoa powder, sugar, baking soda, baking powder and salt. Make a well in the center and pour in the eggs, coffee, buttermilk and oil. Stir just until blended. Mix in 3/4 of the bacon, reserving the rest for garnish. Spoon the batter into the prepared cups, dividing evenly.

Bake in the preheated oven until the tops spring back when lightly pressed, 20 to 25 minutes. Cool in the pan set over a wire rack. When cool, arrange the cupcakes on a serving platter. Frost with your favorite chocolate frosting and sprinkle reserved bacon crumbles on top. Dust with additional cocoa powder.

1/2 cup (1 stick) butter or margarine
2/3 cup HERSHEY'S Cocoa
3 cups powdered sugar
1/3 cup milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Melt butter. Stir in cocoa. Alternately add powdered sugar and milk, beating to spreading consistency. Add small amount additional milk, if needed. Stir in vanilla. About 2 cups frosting.