Over the past four years I have posted several unusual recipes for you to enjoy. Whether it is African Chicken Soup or Shrimp Gumbo, I love recipes with unique flavors. This recipe is no exception! In fact, it might just have some of the most unique flavor combinations that have ever graced our kitchen table. I have to preface that this recipe will not be fun for every joe-shmoe cooker. There are four different components to this meal and if things like that drive you crazy, this is not the recipe for you. However, if you love new flavors and want to try and new recipe that will totally rock your taste buds, you have GOT to try this one!! 


A few months back my family & I were at The Cheesecake Factory near Disneyland. I saw a woman with a dinner plate filled with food I was drooling over. I knew I saw mangos, shrimp & black beans and from there I was sold. I asked our waiter what it was and he said it was the ‘underdog’ dish of their restaurant. He told us it was the Jamaican Black Pepper Chicken/Shrimp and that it was seriously one of their best dishes (that says something since everything is good!) and that if people didn’t start ordering it more it was going to be taken off the menu forever (ahhh!). I anxiously ordered it and was in Jamaican paradise while eating every last bite. The combination of flavors was SO intense and SO incredible I couldn’t stop talking about it for days. I knew I had to go home and recreate this recipe, and so that is what I did.

Now…there is one slight problem. Every copycat recipe I found online called for several cups of beer (no wonder I liked it so much!). I have never drunk beer (except for in this recipe) and I am not about to go pick up some Budwieser in my grocery cart. So, I had to improvise. If you happen to have beer in your fridge, by all means, add it to this recipe. My recipe was missing a little extra ‘something’ that was in my original dish and I am sure it is the difference of using beer verses orange juice. So, use what sounds good to you and enjoy this new & tropical dish! The mango salsa, along with the fried plantains and the seasoned chicken makes for such an exotic combination of flavors, you are going to LOVE it! This dish will whisk you away to somewhere warm, romantic and tropical and make you think you aren’t in the middle of cold, gray weather in Utah 😉

 


Jamaican Black Pepper Chicken (Cheesecake Factory Copycat)
Ingredients
  1. 2 cans black beans, drained, seasoned and warmed in a microwave safe bowl
  2. 4 c. rice, cooked and garnished with sliced green onions
  3. 3 plantains, peeled and cut into long finger size pieces
  4. 2 Tbs. butter
Chicken
  1. 4 lbs. boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1 inch pieces
  2. 1/2 c. flour
  3. 2 1/2 T. jerk seasoning (recipe below--you CAN use store bought jerk seasoning if you are in a hurry but the flavors won't be exactly the same)
Homemade Jerk Seasoning
  1. 6 tsp. salt
  2. 4 tsp. allspice
  3. 4 tsp. sugar
  4. 4 tsp. black pepper
  5. 2 tsp. cayenne pepper
  6. 1 tsp. cinnamon
  7. 4 tsp. thyme
  8. 4 tsp. garlic powder
  9. 4 tsp. smoked paprika
  10. 1 tsp. nutmeg
  11. 1 tsp. chili powder
  12. 4 tsp. celery salt
  13. 2 tsp. turmeric
  14. 4 tsp. dried chives
  15. 4 Tbs. butter for sauteing chicken
Sauce
  1. 2 cup orange juice (or 2 cup Budweiser Beer or apple juice)--mine was perhaps a little too citrusy, I think next time I will do 1/2 apple juice and the other half orange juice)
  2. 6 cloves garlic, minced
  3. 2 cup chicken broth
  4. 3/4 cup molasses
  5. 1/3 cup worcestershire sauce
  6. 1/2 cup cilantro, chopped
  7. 1 lime, juiced
  8. 2 Tbs. cornstarch
  9. 1/4 cup rice vinegar
  10. 1/2 cup brown sugar
  11. 3 Tbs. jerk seasoning
  12. 1 tsp. orange zest
  13. 1/4-1/2 cup water to thin out if needed
Salsa
  1. 1 pineapple, chopped (or use one can tidbits and drain)
  2. 1 mango, diced
  3. 2 tomatoes, diced
  4. 1 red bell pepper, diced
  5. 1/2 red onion, chopped
  6. 1 lime juiced
  7. 1/2 bunch cilantro, chopped
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Instructions
  1. Drain the black beans and place in a microwave safe bowl. Season with salt and pepper.
  2. Cook the rice in a rice cooker until tender while you prepare the other aspects to the meal. Peel the plantains and cut into thin strips. Sprinkle them with salt, sugar and cinnamon.
  3. In a saute pan, melt the butter. Place the pieces of plantains into the butter. Mix them around so they have butter on all sides. Saute them until they are golden brown on all sides and soft. Set aside on a paper towel to cool and drain.
  4. Make the Jamaican jerk seasoning by putting all of the ingredients in a tupperware. This seasoning can be stored for several months. This seasoning is great on chicken, fish or pork and is great to have on hand for many other traditional Jamaican dishes.
  5. In a large saute pan or skillet, bring the 4 Tbs. butter up to a simmer. Place the chicken pieces, flour and jerk seasoning in a Ziploc bag and shake to coat. Place the chicken pieces into the butter and lightly brown on all sides. Cook chicken until mostly cooked through and then set aside while you make the sauce.
  6. Sauce: Combine all of the sauce ingredients into a sauce pan and bring to a simmer for 10 minutes, or until sugar is dissolved and smooth.
  7. Salsa: Prepare the salsa by putting all of the ingredients into a large bowl and letting sit several hours or even overnight. You can serve it right away, it will just have more flavor if you do it an hour ahead of time.
  8. Pour the sauce over the cooked pieces of chicken and bring back up to a simmer to make sure the chicken pieces are cooked through. On a plate put a spoonful of the cooked rice, the warm black beans, the fried plantains and then the chicken & sauce mixture. Top the plate with the mango salsa and serve immediately. Garnish dish with more fresh cilantro that has been chopped.
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 Fried plantains–I could just eat these plain. They were so yummy with the salt, sugar & cinnamon.

 Mango Pineapple Salsa…could any flavors be more appealing this time of year? I don’t think so!

 I thought you would get a kick out of this paper. No joke, this is what 90% of my recipes look like. A half used scratch piece of paper filled with chicken marks, crossed out ingredients, changes and more changes to the recipe I am inventing. If only it were something smart like an algebraic equation. Maybe I should have become a doctor with my awful handwriting 😉

Yum, yum and more yum! I am craving this dish again. It was so new, fresh & unlike anything you have had before! Enjoy