Jamaican Jerk Pork & Coconut Rice
TMA'ed while listening to If That's Ok by Bo Napoleon
Temi: This collaboration has been several months in the making. Flashback to the end of last year, a few months after Mari & I started the blog, my friend Jamie and I began chatting about possibly doing a recipe together. He likes to cook, I like to cook, it made sense. Flash forward to almost 4 months later, and we finally did it!
We wanted a recipe that incorporated both of our cultures, and when Jamie suggested that we do jerk pork and coconut rice, everything fell into place. Although technically not a “traditional” Nigerian dish, coconut rice is pretty common in Nigerian households. We have two version of coconut rice, there is the coconut jollof rice which is basically jollof rice that includes coconut milk. The second version that I am sharing with you today, is white coconut rice which is cooked in coconut milk with added spices.
I focused on the rice, and Jamie was master of the Jerk. Specifically, Jamaican Jerk.
Jamie: We talked about what type of protein to feature and chicken was way too common and overdone. Pork was the next best thing after oxtail. Jerk is a popular style of native cooking in Jamaica. Meats are marinated with very hot spices and slow cooked over low wood fire for a long period of time so that the meat has time to soak up the smoky flavor. We call the seasoning “jerk spice” or “jerk seasoning” and it usually features very generous portions of scotch bonnet peppers for a spicy kick.
Speaking of rice, Temi’s Nigerian coconut rice is a distant relative to Jamaican rice and peas. Both styles use coconut milk and season the rice using different spices.
Temi: The lovely weather we had during the weekend, made grilling the pork even more enjoyable. Add in the few friends who were over at Jamie’s, and we had a little brunch/lunch party.
Jamie: A few things to take note of while cooking the pork:
I personally prefer using a food processor over manually mincing the onions with a knife because the heat and speed of the blade naturally extracts a lot of the water and flavors. Not only is it easier on your eyes but it makes it easier for the meat to absorb the liquid and marinade.
Precooking the pork in the oven allows it to get a head start, but we definitely want to use the grill to cook the pork all the way through so we get that nice color and smoky jerk flavor.
We put the meat on the top rack because if the meat is too close to the heat (i.e. bottom rack), the outside will cook extremely quick and there wont be enough time for the inside to cook through. Cooking on too high heat also dries out the meat a lot easier which is what we want to avoid with a pork loin.
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