The one thing about having dinner—or making dinner, for that matter—with friends, is that alcohol generally gets consumed prior, during, and after the meal. At times, if a little too much is drunk, dinner often gets simpler and simpler to make—you might just throw the chicken on the grill and forget the delicate sauce you had intended to make. Fortunately for me, I was able to cook dinner last night as planned, however I will blame the glasses of wine that I drank on two things that happened: 1) not thoroughly reading the recipe, and therefore switching some things around; 2) not being able to share the recipe until the morning after.
After some input from friends on Facebook, I chose to make the recipe for “Grilled Pork with Mango and Rum Sauce.” Because I don’t actually eat pork, however, the first change was an easy one—I used boneless, skinless chicken thighs rather than pork tenderloin. The second thing I had to change was the use of pre-made Jerk seasoning because, even after spending way to much time looking, I couldn’t find it anywhere in Shop Rite. Fortunately, I’ve made Jerk from scratch before, and I just quickly googled what was needed (here’s a link, in case you can’t find the spice mixture, either). After getting home from the store, I also discovered that I was out of allspice (a required ingredient in Jerk seasoning), and had to make that spice, too! So, in case you are like me, and the thought of running out to the store for yet another forgotten item, here’s how you make allspice.
When I finally got around to grilling the chicken, I used a cast-iron grill pan out on the grill. Because I was making a large number of chicken thighs (I had roughly 16 people to feed last night!), I put some of the thighs directly on the grill because the pan wasn’t large enough. This was a mistake. The chicken cooked too quickly, and charred easily due to the fattiness of the meat. The pieces that were cooked on the grill pan, however, had a nice crispiness to them, along with a bit of caramelization due to the spices having a chance to mix with the juice of meat.
After grilling the chicken, I removed it from the pan and kept it warm in the oven. Then, using the same grill pan, I began to cook the cubed (or diced—thanks Krista and Hana!) mango. After it finished cooking, I re-read the recipe and realized that the mango was supposed to be cooked first, and then the chicken on the same pan (theoretically picking up the flavor of the mango). Because I did the reverse, however, I think that the mango was able to pick up the flavor of the jerk seasoning—which was a delicious mistake.
Lastly, after making the sauce, I noticed that it didn’t thicken as much as I would have liked, so instead of pouring it directly onto the plated food, I instead mixed it into the mango before serving it. All in all, this was an incredibly delicious meal, and people kept coming back for seconds, and even thirds. If you do decide to make it, let me know what changes you make to make it even better!
Now, on to Day 3—what shall I make today?