Disappointingly, there was only a mild kick from the peppers.
Ha, yeah, Serrano peppers won't send you into orbit. You'd have been better off with maybe fresh Thai birdseye chillis – cheap at Avondale Markets, less cheap but available with various other varieties (although maybe not out of season) at Farro.
I've had a couple of mediocre results with jerk chicken – I think it's harder than it seems to get right, and under-doing the chilli and seasonings is generally a mistake. You've just got to go for it, I suspect. Also, the classic way of cooking is in a modified steel drum, so the marinade drips off and you're basically smoking the meat in the fume it makes when it hits the coals (or the gas burners). I've yet to make jerk chicken that tastes like what I bought when I went back to Brixton a couple of years ago, with a nuclear-grade fruit sauce on the side.
Not, I hasten to add, that I am suggesting that your result looks mediocre. I would totally have eaten that!
This is a pretty good recipe for next time. Habaneros are now days very easy to get in Australia while Scotch Bonnets are not. But I wouldn’t make it if you couldn’t get either or personally…
Edit: but your 1st pic looks totally like the versions I've eaten!
You'd have been better off with maybe fresh Thai birdseye chillis – cheap at Avondale Markets, less cheap but available with various other varieties (although maybe not out of season) at Farro.
IMHE these freeze beautifully, making them a nice candidate for container growing if your gardening options are limited. While they turn squishy when thawed they seem otherwise unimpaired by freezing. They can be easily cleaned by slicing them lengthwise while still hard frozen and stripping the seeds out.
Scotch Bonnet seeds are available and you may find small plants for sale at the local garden shop and on Trade Me. An alternative is marinating with the Encona Hot Pepper Sauce one of which is made from a mix of Habanero and Scotch Bonnet Peppers. The nuclear grade Carolina Reaper has a similar taste but you'll need a hazmat suit and medical insurance.
I think you're being too hard on yourself. It looks appealing to me.
I tautoko the other commenters who suggest using birdseye chillies for that extra heat. If you can't find them fresh, I have seen them sold frozen in Asian supermarkets. (I've actually got half a bag in my freezer)
I totally saw birds eye on my hunt and almost went for them but checked google instead. Should have checked with you :)
I’m totally new to the whole chilli thing - always hated spicy food until a couple of years ago - now I love it!
The dish definitely tasted amazing, and the marinade is going to be a go-to from now on, but yep - I imagine not what jerk chicken should be.
Maybe we should tag-team the next attempt - between the two of us we could try turn mediocre into something awesome :)
Don’t get me wrong, I loved it :) just missed the mark with the peppers :)
Habeneros work fine as a substitute for scotch bonnets. I've grown both for several years and have found that scotch bonnets grow well in Auckland but don't seem to get the heat in them for some reason.
I make several batches of jerk seasoning in the autumn when my chillis are in seaon then freeze them for later use. The chillis alway seem to come on in early autumn just in time for the end of barbeque season and jerk is best on a smoky grill rather than a fry pan. This year I have done some batches with my homegrown Carolina reapers for that extra kick.
Coals to Newcastle?
My experiences with jerk chicken also look pretty unappealing - it's just one of those homey dishes that taste better than they look.
I don't think you need scotch bonnets - yes if you eat chili peppers a lot you get habituated to the heat, habeneros would be fine and give the same flavour. I don't think birds eye chilies have the same flavour, they have the heat though so you could mix and match.
Freezing chili works fine, they also last quite a long time in the fridge BUT beware they build up capsaicin in the fridge and can get a LOT hotter than when used fresh or dried.