Sunday, May 3, 2009

Jamaican Jerk Sandwiches with Caribbean Accoutrements

I have been wanting to make a Jamaican jerk-spiced tempeh sandwich ever since I had a transcendent one at Deschutes Brewery in Bend. Sadly, this exquisite menu item did not make the jump over the mountains to the brewery's Portland location, so I had to try to replicate it at home.

I started off by making a marinade at home. I marinaded some chicken and my tempeh in it for a good 24 hours, using these ingredients:

  • Ground allspice
  • Ground thyme
  • Ground black pepper
  • Ground sage
  • Ground nutmeg
  • Ground cinnamon
  • Ginger
  • Garlic
  • Brown sugar
  • Molasses
  • Rum
  • Vinegar
  • Pineapple juice
  • Juice of 1 lime
  • Jalapenos (but they weren't hot enough)
  • Green onions

To go along with the sandwiches, I got a little wild and tried to replicate Caribbean flavors. Or at least what a white girl from the Pacific Northwest thinks Caribbean flavors are. I bought a plantain and sliced it up, then sauteed til it was golden brown, like so:

I also made a mango-bean-avocado salad to go along with everything. It had kidney beans, chopped fresh mango, halved cherry tomatoes, cilantro, chopped avocado and a bit of pineapple juice to keep the avocado from going brown.

See the pretty colors?

To top the sandwiches, I quickly pan-grilled a few rings of pineapple. I also sauteed some red peppers and onion in this pan to top my sandwich.

I put the whole wheat bun with some cheddar cheese in the toaster for a few, then topped with a pineapple ring.

Here is Cookie Monster's sandwich, made with chicken tenders instead of the tempeh. After I had cooked my tempeh through, I added his chicken and dumped in the rest of the marinade, which reduced into a lovely jerk sauce to cover everything.

Here is my tempeh with the peppers peeking out from underneath.

And my whole plate. I doused the sandwich with a bit more of the reduced marinade/sauce before putting its top on.

All in all, this was a really good recipe, but I did not use enough spice. I actually went into the kitchen and got the jar of pickled jalapenos out, adding a few to my sandwich. The extra spice really added a lot, and I plopped a few more into the leftovers.
This was also a pretty good likeness of my beloved Deschutes sandwich. I did not use focaccia bread, obviously, because I try to make my food indulgences in restaurants and eat healthier at home. But the flavors were very similar, and this was a really good and different dinner.
Go me!

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