cooking with plantains ~ jamaican style!

:: grilled chicken and plantains ::

this past saturday morning was perfect.  my version of the perfect saturday morning.  the kids slept at grandma's on friday night (yes, you heard me, this perfect saturday morning did not involve the children) so husband and i woke up bright and early together and went for a run.  i loved that he joined me and i loved that we didn't have to rush back to relieve a babysitter.  

after our nice little run we went together to wait in line for our first basket of fruits and veggies from the co-op.  he was so patient while watching me drool over the baskets i saw people carrying away.  i have to say, i was super disappointed to miss the cut off time last night for ordering this weeks produce.  unfortunately, i had to deal with a toddler in time out after he bit his brother in the back during a fit of glee.  

anyway, back to my perfect morning.  once we returned from our co-op pick up and a quick visit to the local farmer's market, we decided to not shower off our stink and instead, we drove up town to the real farmer's market in salt lake where we people watched and tasted yummy samples.  

my perfect morning was that simple.  a little quality time with the husband doing things i love to do (and, i think he enjoys as well) turned out to be just what i needed.  a small peaceful break from the chaos that is raising three young children.  then they came home and we jumped right back in to full swing parenting.  yeah!

the point?  plantains.  plantains are the point.  the co-op basket came with three plantains.  i'd never heard of or seen a plantain before so as soon as i had a moment, i began my research.  turns out plantains are treated as a starch vegetable and have a lower sugar content than regular dessert bananas.  because of this, plantains typically require some sort of cooking and/or processing before consumption and as i searched for recipes, i found the traditional use is for making fried chips.  FRIED.  um ... no, thanks.

so, i did what i do and tried to find a more figure friendly recipe.  what i found was a nice sounding recipe titled "grilled chicken and plantains ~ jamaican style" which became dinner last night.  


the chicken marinade was great and we also used up the fresh broccoli from our bountiful basket.  as far as the plantains?  well, the kids ate them.  cayden's reaction was especially surprising.  he gobbled his up and i thought they tasted like barbecued banana's, not bad at all but i couldn't help but think how delicious they would have been battered and fried with a nice cinnamon and sugar coating.  the husband said they were "okay" but, he prefers grilled pineapple. 

so, there you have it.  grilled plantains are edible.  not our favorite and not something i'll go out of my way to make in the future but, the chicken marinade was really good.

grilled chicken and plantains ~ jamaican style

olive oil
1/4 cup mild flavor molasses (i only had full flavor so i used 1/8 cup)
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
1 tbsp tomato paste
1 tbsp finely chopped onion
1 1/2 tsp chopped fresh thyme
1 large garlic clove, peeled
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
1/2 tsp ground allspice
4 boneless chicken breast halves with skin (i used boneless, skinless)
2 semi-ripe plantains (yellow-black skin), peeled, cut on a diagonal into 1/3 to 1/2" thick slices

*recipe calls for 15 minutes of marinating.  i marinated the chicken all day and did not reserve any of the marinade for "drizzling" ... it was still really flavorful.

lightly brush the plantains with olive oil and then sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste.

process the next 8 ingredients in a food processor until well blended.  pour mixture over chicken and marinate for at least 15 minutes (longer is better imo).

prepare grill over low heat by spraying with non-stick spray. grill chicken for 4-5 minutes per side and plantains for 2-3 minutes per side.

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