I joined the ranks of working moms this week. It wasn’t easy. Gabi and I have been almost inseparable since she was born, and now we’re apart eight hours a day. Jeff is staying home with her for the next two weeks to ease the transition. Otherwise, I’d be a mess.
It helped having something delicious for lunch today. On Sunday, I spent about five minutes making some jerk marinade in the blender. I put it in a shallow bowl and let the chicken soak it up overnight. Last night, I grilled the chicken for about 30 minutes, checking on it every 10 minutes or so. This morning, I assembled the wrap.
Putting together a lunch like this is nice every once and awhile. It sure beats the dry ham sandwiches I often resort to. And it was much, much better than the toasted ravioli and bland pasta alfredo in the cafeteria. Sure, it takes more time. But the wraps can be assembled in advance, wrapped in plastic wrap and stored in the fridge for a few days.
The jerk flavors are a mixture of sweet and sour with some heat. A thin spread of cream cheese protects the tortilla from moisture, and the fruit chutney balances out the spice of the jerk flavor and the slight bite of the red onion. I’ll be eating these for lunch the rest of the week. It’s a small indulgence. We working moms deserve at least that much, right?
Jamaican Jerk Chicken Wrap
adapted from the Whole Foods Market Cookbook
For one wrap:
1 tablespoon cream cheese
1 (12-inch) flour tortilla [I used whole wheat]
3 leaves leaf lettuce, red or green
8 ounces grilled Jerk Chicken, chopped [recipe follows]
8 very thin slices red onion
1/4 cup prepared fruit chutney
Spread the cream cheese thinly over the tortilla. Place 2 leaves of lettuce on the bottom half of the tortilla. Spread the jerk chicken over the lettuce. Scatter the red onion over the chicken. Spoon the fruit chutney over the onions. Top with the remaining lettuce. Roll up the tortilla tightly, and cut diagonally in half. If the wrap won’t stick together, secure with toothpicks.
Jamaican Jerk Sauce and Jerk Chicken
1 jalapeno pepper, halved and seeded
4 scallions, sliced into 2-inch lengths
3 cloves garlic, peeled
3 tablespoons freshly grated ginger (1 2-inch piece)
4 sprigs fresh thyme, minced
1 tablespoon whole allspice berries, ground in a coffee/spice mill, or 2 teaspoons dried
Juice of 2 limes
1/2 cup ketchup
1/2 cup pineapple juice or tomato juice
2 pounds boneless chicken breasts
In the bowl of a food processor or blender, process the pepper, scallions, garlic, ginger, and thyme leaves until finely ground. Add the allspice, lime juice, ketchup, and pineapple juice and puree the mixture for 30 seconds, until well combined.
To marinate, place the chicken in a bowl and cover with the marinade. Securely cover the bowl and leave in the refrigerator overnight or for up to three days. Turn the chicken a few times during this process to make sure the marinade is distributed evenly.
To cook over coals or on a gas grill, bring the coals to a medium heat. Remove the chicken from the marinade and place directly on the grill. If your grill has a cover, cook with it closed. If you do not have a cover, loosely cover the chicken with foil or the lid of a large pot while cooking. This will ensure a more authentic flavor. Cook over medium heat, turning occasionally, for 20-35 minutes until cooked through and crispy on the outside.
To cook in the oven, preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Remove the chicken from the marinade and place on a baking pan. Bake, turning occasionally, for 40 to 50 minutes until golden outside and cooked through.