Dec 172012

And now for something completely different. A friend of mine was talking on Facebook about her culinary adventures and mentioned that she planned to make a Jamaican chicken stew and festival bread soon.  Now, I have prepared a number of Jamaican dishes (with the spice turned wayyy down), but I had never eaten an authentic Jamaican meal, nor had I had festival bread.  So, hey!  Something to try!

I had an old recipe for Caribbean chicken that I know the family enjoys.  So, I decided to make that and have the festivals as a side.

Caribbean Chicken:

  •  3-4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • 2 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
  • 1-2 cinnamon sticks
  • Hot sauce to taste (1 tsp)
  • 2 TBS minced fresh ginger or 1/2 tsp powdered
  • Peel of 1 lime cut into strips (just the green part)
  • Juice of 1 lime
  • Juice of 1 orange
  • 2 TBS rum (optional)
  • 1 small onion, chopped (optional)
  • 16 oz tomato puree (or 2 cups chopped tomatoes with juice)
  • 2 TBS  molasses

Combine Rum, Garlic, lime juice,  lime peel, orange juice, hot sauce and ginger in a zip top bag.  Add chicken breasts to coat and marinate 8 hours in the fridge.   Add a few TBS oil to a skillet over Med-High heat.  Reserving the marinade, brown the chicken breasts in the oil until golden.  Remove chicken. Saute onion until translucent.  Return the chicken, and add in the marinade, the tomato, the cinnamon sticks, and the molasses.  Stir until mixed and lower heat to med-low.  Simmer for 1 hour.  Serve hot with Festival Bread.

Festival Bread:

  • 2 cups flour
  • 1/4 cup corn meal
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 3 TBS sugar (more for sweeter festival, less for more savory)
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • A few TBS of flour and cornmeal mixed for dredging

In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, cornmeal, salt, sugar and baking soda.  Add the vanilla to the water.  A teaspoon at a time, work the water into the flour with your fingers.  At about 1/2 cup, it should resemble course breadcrumbs.  Gradually add in enough of the rest of the water to make a stiff dough- it should not be soft or sticky.  If the dough is too soft, add in a bit more flour.  Once the dough is formed, let it rest for an hour covered by plastic wrap.  Heat several inches of oil to 365 degrees F (185 C) in a deep pot.  Careful not to overwork the rested dough, divide into 8 pieces and form each lump into a fat sausage shape.  Mix together a few TBS of flour and cornmeal.  Dredge each festival in the mixture until coated.  Fry the dough in small batches until a dark golden brown, turning once.  Drain on absorbent paper.   Serve plain with savory meats, or sprinkle with powdered sugar for a donut-like treat!

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