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Jerk chicken legs with rice and peas

Australian Gourmet Traveller recipe for jerk chicken legs with rice and peas.

By Emma Knowles
  • Serves 6 - 8
  • 40 mins preparation
  • 45 mins cooking plus marinating, cooling
Jerk chicken legs with rice and peas
Jerk chicken legs with rice and peas

Rice and peas is a traditional Jamaican accompaniment to many dishes, including smoky grilled jerk chicken. The peas traditionally used are pigeon peas, but we've used sweet garden peas instead. Start this recipe a day ahead to marinate the chicken.


  • 6 fresh bay leaves, coarsely torn
  • 4 spring onions (including half the green parts), coarsely chopped
  • 3 habanero chillies, coarsely chopped (see note)
  • 1½ tbsp coarsely chopped thyme
  • 2 tsp ground allspice
  • 2 tsp coarsely cracked black pepper
  • ½ tsp each ground cinnamon and finely grated nutmeg
  • 2 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp brown sugar
  • 8 chicken Marylands, skin slashed twice on each
Rice and peas
  • 500 ml (2 cups) each coconut milk and chicken stock
  • 1 habanero chilli, halved
  • 190 gm (1½ cups) brown rice
  • 200 gm frozen peas
  • 3 spring onions, thinly sliced
  • 50 ml olive oil
  • 50 ml lime juice
  • 35 ml orange juice


  • 1
    Process bay leaves, spring onion, chilli, thyme, spices and 1 tsp sea salt in a food processor until finely chopped. Add soy, sugar and lime juice and process to combine. Rub paste all over chicken pieces, then refrigerate overnight in an airtight container to marinate.
  • 2
    For rice and peas, bring coconut milk, stock, chilli and 1 tsp sea salt to the boil in a saucepan over medium-high heat, then add rice, stir to combine and return to the boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer until tender (25-30 minutes). Remove from heat, stand for 10 minutes, then strain off any excess liquid, discard chilli and spread rice on a tray to cool to room temperature (1 hour). Meanwhile, blanch peas until tender (1-2 minutes), drain and refresh, then place in a bowl with rice, spring onion, oil, lime juice and orange juice. Season to taste, stir to combine and refrigerate until required.
  • 3
    Heat a barbecue to medium heat. Wipe excess marinade from chicken and drizzle with a little oil. Barbecue, turning often, until browned and cooked through and juices run clear when thighs are pierced (10-12 minutes; the chicken will become quite dark, this is ok). Serve hot with rice and pea salad and lime wedges.


Drink Suggestion: Earthy full-bodied red, such as Barossa mataro/mourvèdre. Drink suggestion by Max Allen