Brownifer Bites: Jamexican Tacos

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Jamexican Tacos

So, as most of you know by now, my stepdad is Jamaican.  We've learned a lot about Jamaican foods since he became part of our family.  His sisters have taught my mom so much about cooking their favorite family dishes. Jerk seasoning is by far the most popular Jamaican culinary delight among Americans; it's a staple in my mom's house as well.  We buy Walkerswood - it is full of amazing seasonings and just happens to be the one brand I've found that doesn't give me an MSG headache!  That's huge for me.  We find it at World Market here in Oregon, but I'm sure their website can direct you to where you can buy it locally or ... there's always Amazon!  There are other brands out there, this just happens to be our favorite.

Needless to say, we try a lot of things with jerk seasoning.  Once Brownie smoked a jerk pork roast for my parents and we kept some of the meat - YUM!  With the leftovers, we made some tacos since we always have Mexican food staples around this house.  They were delicious!  But what in the world do you call these fusion foods?  That was the day Jamexican Tacos were born.  Taco cravings happen regularly here, and tonight was one of them.  So we decided to make our chicken version of these and share them with you.

What you'll need:

  • Chicken breasts or thighs or both (we've also used the smoked jerk pork roast and flank steak)
  • Jerk seasoning (paste)
  • Jerk Marinade
  • Onion
  • Radishes
  • Avocado
  • Fresh cilantro
  • yellow chili pepper
  • Cotija cheese
  • White corn tortillas
  • Limes
  • Olive Oil

What to do:

  • Rub down chicken with Jerk paste, pour liquid marinade over meat and let sit 30 minutes
  • While the meat is sitting, dice your onion and chop cilantro, toss with olive oil and lime juice, slice radishes and yellow chili pepper, crumble your Cotija cheese
  • Grill the chicken until it's cooked thoroughly
  • Cut/shred your chicken for tacos
  • Put two tortillas down and build your tacos!

These are spicy!  A slow heat that creeps up and stays with you.  So we chose some Northwest wines that would possibly compliment these flavors.  It's a complicated thing to try to pair wine with since it's a fusion of Mexican flavors and Jamaican spices.  We love going to wineries and buying more expensive bottles to enjoy, but your average Oregonian doesn't have wine in the cellar and relies heavily on what is in the grocery store.  We are incredibly spoiled in The Willamette Valley with the amount of wineries and vineyards that make some incredible wine.  Our grocery stores are filled with shelves of Oregon and Washington wines that would amaze you.  Some of these wines are inexpensive as well.  Don't be fooled around here by the price tag.  So we hit the wine stacks and here's what we tried tonight:

The first wine we chose was Airlie Winery's 2013 Dry Gewurztraminer.  This one was Brownie's favorite.  Brownie is usually a red wine sipper and leans more toward IPAs when it comes to Oregon beer.  When I tasted the three wines, I knew this one would be the one he liked best.  First, let me say that it cuts the heat INCREDIBLY well!  The wine doesn't have any overpowering personality of its own and Brownie thought it brought out the aromas of everything in the tacos.  I disagree a little.  I'm the white wine drinker around here and when it comes to beer ... I'd rather have hard cider. :-) I would say that it brought out more of the savory and Mexican notes in the food.  But it's a really good companion to these tacos!

The second wine was my choice, obviously.  Chateau St. Michelle's 2014 Harvest Select Sweet Riesling.  I thought it would be a fun bottle of sweetness to sip while Brownie cooked and created and I worked on our social media.  I'm disappointed that I didn't save more to have with the food! Brownie didn't hate it, but he wasn't thrilled.  It had too much sweetness of its own and for him it didn't compliment the food.  Again I disagree a bit, though it does have its own flavors for sure. No, it didn't cut the heat like the Airlie did, but for me the sweet in this wine brought out the flowery smells and flavors in the cilantro and the pepper and even the avocado.  I loved it!

The third wine was Chateau St. Michelle's 2014 Gewurztraminer.  Neither one of us really preferred this with our fusion creation.  It was just all wrong for this combination in just about every way.  I do like the wine on its own though!  I'll make good use of it on these hot summer days! :-)  But while you're making Jamexican Tacos ... I would leave this one chilling in the refrigerator.

So that's our Jamexican adventure for the night!  One of our favorites that we've now shared with you!  If you try this one out, be sure to come back and post your pictures and let us know what twists and turns you took on your own version!

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