Jerk Chicken Sweet Potatoes + Tropical Salsa

It’s been a long week when you pull yourself out of a bath, too tired to even open that delicious looking Syrah on the counter, fall onto the couch and mindlessly scroll through a friend’s entire (read: E.N.T.I.R.E.) Facebook wall, liking every status update from 2009, laughing hysterically to yourself, and the next thing you know you’re asleep with the computer still running and wake up only when it gets uncomfortably hot on your skin. Hypothetically. Of course.

When I was younger I would much rather spend time playing very dramatic and elaborate imaginary games with my friends, or better yet, alone, than most anything. Inspired by both “Annie” and The Boxcar Children, I would spend hours playing roles of both abusive orphanage headmistress and several different orphans. I had hid away one of those plug-in candles that decorate house windows during Christmas and would sit in my closet with the lights out, save for that one candle, pretending to be a tortured child. Nights my mom prepared any type of one dish meal or soup or stew, I was delighted because it immediately became “gruel,” or “porridge,” which felt like the only thing one would eat in an orphanage.

Maybe that weird messed up game is where I found my affinity for meals like this. Maybe, it isn’t. But alas, I love them. And mushing up a baked sweet potato and stuffing it full of flavorful spicy Jerk chicken and mounds of sweet mango, papaya and jalapeno salsa really takes that whole orphan play and shakes it right up.

As a note: even if you hate jerk chicken (why?) and sweet potatoes (why?), make this salsa. It’s unbelievably simple in preparation yet complex in flavor… much like my imagination.
Jerk Sweet Potatoes
Jerk Chicken Sweet Potatoes + Tropical Salsa
For the salsa:
1 sweet yellow onion, diced
1 red bell pepper, diced
1 large handful cilantro, chopped
2 cloves garlic, finely diced
2 jalapeños, diced (seeds removed)
1 papaya, diced
1 mango, diced
Juice and zest of 1 lime
Sea salt

For the sweet potatoes:
3 sweet potatoes, baked
2 “glugs” neutral oil
3 chicken breasts, chopped into chunks
1 tsp ground allspice
1 tbsp onion powder
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
2 tsp thyme
2 tsp sugar
2 tsp dried chives
2 tsp salt
1 tsp black pepper
1/8-1/4 tsp cayenne
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon

Mix all salsa ingredients together and allow to rest in refrigerator. Heat oil in large skillet. Add chicken and all spices. Cook until chicken is cooked all the way through. When sweet potatoes are finished baking, slice open and top with butter and drizzle of honey. Pile in chicken then top with salsa.

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