Renowned for it renditions of classic jerk pork and chicken it also offers Roast Breadfruit, Yam and Sweet Potato in addition to the wonderful sweet potato "poon" which is slow cooked over a charcoal fire in the back yard.
A bucolic oasis amidst the heat of Kingston, Scothies, sitting in a dusty used car lot on Chelsea Ave in New Kingston, has fast become a must visit vendor of Jamaican road food; serving 2500 meals on a busy day.
While remaining rustic, Scothies offers the opportunity to sit in an arbour in the verdant gardens. Choose to be served or line up at the take out window, sharing in the carnival atmosphere of food being prepared .
The cooking takes place in a large smoky kitchen reminiscent of Dante's inferno. Laughing cooks drop huge slabs of pork and split chickens directly onto rafts of sweet wood laid over huge charcoal pits
Jerking is a complex process that goes beyond the marinade, requiring an understanding of history to execute properly
These wild hogs became a favorite food source for the Maroons
Wild boar was tough and of course refrigration unknown, they therefore preserved their meat by marinading it. Pimento and papaya acted as tenderiser while, lime juice scotch bonnet and bird pepper acted as preservaties. The marinaded meat was "jerked" or dried in pits of smouldering green pimento wood covered with leaves and earth. This slow cooking method had the advantage of not requiring constant attention or signalling their location.
There are any number of recipes for jerk seasoning, and many have an ingredient list a mile long but Jamaican's cooks agree that there are three jerk spice ingredients that are key:
All Spice also known as "Jamaica pepper," gets its name from the rich, spicy flavor which is reminiscent of the mingling of cloves, cinnamon, and nutmeg.
Scotch Bonnet Peppers are small, orange and wrinkly (looking like the cooks scotch bonnet of old). They are extremely hot- among the hottest peppers known
Thyme, Jamaica's ubiquios herb adds complexity to the flavor of the meat. Thyme was brought the island by the Spanish as it has many symbolic uses beyond cooking- being associated with honour, strength and bravery.
Additional ingredients often include garlic, brown sugar, escallion, soy sauce, lime juice, orange juice, papaya, rum, bay leaves, ginger, cloves, nutmeg, cinnamon, cumin, coriander and black pepper.
There are many proprietary brands of Jerk Seasoning available these days with Walker's Wood, Busha Browne and Spur Tree being amongst the best on the market. Jerk Seasoning can be purchased wet or dry rub. I prefer the wet version and often add coconut oil to the mix to aid the infusion.
Depending on the cut of meat being used and the overall weight one can marinade the item from 1 hour up to 2-3 days. The flavour and intensity will increase and in the case of tougher cuts will tenderize. When fully marinaded and slowly jerked chicken will take on a wonderful white almost translucent colour and a "melt in your mouth" texture. Pork often becomes red around the bones which creates an impression of not being cooked but is just a chemical reaction.
To create your own flavorful seasoning, buy spices whole, toast them lightly in a dry skillet--just until they become aromatic--and then grind them in a spice grinder or a mortar and pestle.
Remember to remove the seeds from the peppers; to decrease the heat, also the white membranes. Do not handle without latex gloves: the oils can cause serious irritation and burning to your hands.
Place the peppers, the ground spices, and all the remaining ingredients in a food processor and let it run until a smooth paste forms. soy sauce, lime juice, orange juice, papaya juice, rum, or water if the mixture appears to need more liquid.
1/2 cup ground pimento berries
1/2 cup packed wet brown sugar
1 head garlic-peeled
6 Scotch Bonnet peppers, seeded and cored
Small bunch of fresh thyme leaves - strip out hard woody stalks
2 bunches Scallion or green spring onions
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
Course sea salt and ground black pepper
Tablespoon lime juice, orange juice and soy sauce