All the Caribbean islands use the same spice base.
If you’re English, in Jamaica, you call it jerk. If you’re French like me from Haiti—or Martinique or Guadeloupe—you call it épis. And in Latin America, they call it sofrito. There’s always onion, garlic and peppers. Jamaicans like it spicy, with Scotch bonnet, cloves and allspice. In Haiti, we like it very bright and fresh, with thyme, parsley, lime juice and sour orange. On the Hispanic Caribbean islands, you’ll find cilantro. Everyone uses it on chicken, fish, beef, pork— whatever they have. This is my signature gastronomic épis jerk chicken. —Paul Toussaint – Kamuy, Montreal
- 100 ml (2⁄3 cup) vegetable oil
- 100 ml (2⁄3 cup) sour-orange* juice
- 50 ml (1⁄4 cup) lime juice
- 1 yellow onion, chopped
- 1⁄2 bunch green onions, chopped
- 1⁄2 bunch parsley, leaves only
- 1⁄2 bunch thyme, leaves only
- 8 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 Scotch bonnet pepper, seeded and chopped
- 40 g (11⁄2 oz) Badia Complete Seasoning
- 30 g (2 tbsp) Dijon mustard
- 20 g (3 tbsp) sweet paprika
- 20 g (1 tbsp) kosher salt
- 5 g (2 tsp) cayenne pepper
- 2 chickens, spatchcocked (for shorter cooking time), about 1.5 kg (3 lb) each (or 6 whole chicken legs)
Combine oil, citrus, onions, parsley, thyme, garlic, chilis, seasoning, mustard, paprika, salt and cayenne in a food processor, and pulse until smooth. Reserve 2 tbsp of the épis mixture for the rice and beans. Rub the remain- der all over chickens and cover. Set aside in the refrigerator for a mini- mum of 2 hours, and up to overnight.
Preheat oven to 175C (350F).
Arrange chicken in a roasting pan and set aside on countertop for 30 minutes. Transfer to oven for 45 minutes. Baste and then finish under the broiler or a hot grill until bronzed and crisp. Rest for 15 minutes and then portion with plantain, rice and beans and pikliz (see canadas100best.com for recipes).
*Sour oranges are available at Mexican produce shops (or substitute with 50 ml orange juice + 25 ml each lemon and lime).
📷 Dominique Lafond