Diaspora Food Culture Recipes

Jerk Chicken Spaghetti

There are few months busier for me than African American History/Heritage Month/Black History Month. Bizarre Foods came and went, book proposals…. And then, you’re working on more book proposals, and then you’re working on presentations and then two close friends die. And your Mom gets sick… 😦 Then you travel…and…. It’s really been a roller coaster month.

I’m back.  Seriously.

So there was this night where I had a guest over for a meal and they wanted tomatoes and chicken.  What to make?

Bingo, presto, Jamaican Jerk Chicken Spaghetti


4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts

1 tsp of kosher salt

1 tsp of black pepper

1 small red onion

4 cloves of garlic

2 tbsp of flat leaf parsley, chopped

1 tablespoon (or more) of chopped fresh ginger)

2 tbsp of vinegar, preferably malt

1 1/2 tbsp  of turbinado sugar, coconut sugar or organic brown or blonde sugar

2 tbsp of dark rum

The juice of 2 limes

1/2 tsp of cinnamon

1 tsp of dried thyme

1 tsp of allspice

1/2 tsp of nutmeg

2 tbsp of soy sauce

1-2 seeded orange habanero peppers

4 scallions, chopped

1/2 cup of canola oil

1 regular old oblong box of pasta—preferably whole wheat or 2x the fiber…

2 cups of grape tomatoes, washed and sliced in half

1 cup of bell pepper mixed, (optional)

1 cup or more of chicken broth

2 tbsp of margarine or butter

chopped flat leaf parsley and scallions to garnish

This is really not that hard…

Place the chicken in a bowl and rub with the salt and pepper, prick all over with a fork.  The rest of the ingredients from the red onions to the oil should be blended together until pureed.  Place over the chicken and marinate for 4-6 hours.

Begin the sauce by breaking down the tomatoes.  I usually place a tablespoon or two of olive oil in a pan and add a little garlic, (you can add the optional bell pepper here) and place the tomatoes in a pan over medium heat, stirring occasionally the tomatoes will start to breakdown in about 20 minutes.  Adjust the heat accordingly and watch them like a hawk.  Don’t let them burn but make sure you stir and squish them until they give up their liquid and soften significantly.  Remove the chicken from the marinade.  (Food safety alert) Cook a half cup of the marinade in with the tomatoes and add the chicken broth.  Let the sauce develop, bubble and cook without burning it!!!…Turn down to a low heat and stir occasionally.  Because you are using a marinade that raw chicken has been in, sustained heat is the only way to make sure you kill any germs.  The process should take around 20 minutes from boil to simmering over a low heat.


The chicken: If you have a  grill pan sear it for ten minutes each on both sides.  Place in a preheated 375 degree oven for about ten minutes loosely covered with foil.  (Start your spaghetti or linguine and cook according to recipe on box!) Chicken should not be overcooked.  Remove and allow to rest for five minutes and thinly slice.  Place the chicken in the sauce.  Add the margarine, butter or oil to the pasta and toss with the chicken and sauce.  Garnish each plate with parsley and scallion.


Jamaican Pasta



10 comments on “Jerk Chicken Spaghetti

  1. That looks delicious. I can’t wait to try it.


  2. HHM..I will have to try this!


  3. jonathanochart

    Definitely a nice alternative to spaghetti and meatballs (; Thanks for sharing!



  4. Sounds fantastic! Modifying weekend shopping list now — thanks for sharing!


  5. Everything about this pleases me.


  6. Jewel F. Laplante-Daal



  7. I think I will save half the marinade for the sauce and use the other half to marinade the chicken..not too sure about using the marinade after the raw chicken was in it…even if id does reach the right temp.. Looks amazing though!


  8. I’m confused, doesn’t the Jewish religion forbid using butter with chicken? I read somewhere you were Orthodox.


    • Margarine or oil is equally o.k. I used Pareve margarine. I do not claim all recipes are kosher and some certainly are not. Yes I go to Orthodox and Conservative shuls, pray the Orthodox siddur and keep kosher in my kitchen. I do cook non – kosher food for others in my working life as a historic chef. I’ve never been inconsistent in my narrative.

      Until the Middle Ages poultry and dairy was cool in a lot of the Sephardi and Mizrahi world bc it was seen as pareve. Long discussion, even though by halakhah it is now globally a no-no.


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