The slow cooker is a great way to put a home-cooked meal onto the table without heating up the kitchen in these hot summer months. Although most of the recipes that use the slow cooker are for winter dishes such as soups, stews and chili, this week's recipe for Jamaican-style jerk chicken sandwiches is great for this time of year.
Jerk chicken is a Jamaican specialty that is flavored with allspice and Scotch bonnet peppers. Most recipes for the sauce have more than a dozen ingredients, but instead of making the sauce from scratch, I use bottled jerk sauce that you can find at the supermarket.
When testing the recipe, I found six brands of jerk marinades and sauces at the supermarket where I most often shop. I used the A1 brand for testing purposes, and it had just the right hit of spice.
The recipe can be prepared with boneless or bone-in chicken breast halves. Shredding the bone-in breast meat is a little messy, but when they're on sale they make this a budget-conscious meal. You can also make the recipe with a pork shoulder or roast.
You'll probably be able to get two meals from the recipe because it makes about two quarts of shredded chicken.
I whip up a little jerk mayo using a bit of the jerk sauce and reduced-fat mayonnaise to spread on buns, and then I add a slice of provolone cheese and a pineapple ring to each sandwich. The filling also can be wrapped in a tortilla with diced pineapple.
Serve with a side of baked potato chips for an out-of-the-ordinary sandwich supper.
JAMAICAN-STYLE JERK CHICKEN SANDWICHES
1 medium onion, peeled and diced
1 green bell pepper, peeled and diced
6 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves
1 cup Jamaican jerk sauce, plus 2 tablespoons more for the jerk mayo
1 cup thinly sliced green onions, about 6 green onions
1/2 cup regular or reduced-fat mayonnaise
6 hoagie or ciabatta rolls
6 slices provolone cheese
6 fresh or canned pineapple rings
Spray the inside of slow cooker crock with nonstick cooking spray.
Spread onions and bell peppers in the crock and then place the chicken on top of the vegetables. Spread the sauce over the chicken breasts and then top with the green onions.
Cover and cook on high for 4-6 hours, or on low for 6-8 hours.
Remove the chicken from the slow cooker. When it is cool enough to handle, shred and return it to the slow cooker and cook for 15-20 minutes more.
When ready to serve, combine the remaining 2 tablespoons of jerk sauce with the mayonnaise. Spread a little of the jerk mayo on the cut sides of the rolls and then place a slice of the cheese on the bottom half of each roll.
Place some of the shredded chicken over the cheese and top with a pineapple slice and the top of the roll.
Makes 6 sandwiches with about a quart of leftover jerk chicken filling.