Instant Pot Jerk Chicken and Cornbread

This riff on a Real Simple Magazine recipe coats juicy chicken thighs with a savory and only slightly spicy jerk-style sauce, and serves it up alongside jalapeno-laced cornbread bites. It’s a one-pot meal that’s ready in only 35 minutes, thanks to the Instant Pot (get yours here: https://amzn.to/2QlkaDf).

There are countless ways of cooking chicken but this jerk chicken is a real finger-licking treat. This dish is so delicious, we’d be quite content with a plate of jerk chicken and nothing else. Well, perhaps napkins. And okay, maybe some reggae and Red Stripe. But we take it up a notch with moist and tender jalapeno cornbread. Boom!

Jerk is a style of cooking native to Jamaica, in which meat is dry-rubbed or wet marinated with a hot spice mixture called Jamaican jerk spice containing allspice and Scotch bonnet peppers. Since Scotch bonnet peppers are not readily available in most markets, we’ve substituted cayenne pepper.

This jerk chicken recipe focuses on the sweet and savory notes and keeps the spice on low. Want it spicier? Increase the cayenne, or for a more authentic flavor puree 1-2 seeded habanero or Scotch peppers to add to the Jerk Mixture.

This jerk chicken is a real finger-licking treat!


Ingredients:

  • 1 8.5 oz box corn muffin mix, prepared according to package directions
  • 2 tbsp thinly sliced scallions
  • 1 jalapeno, seeded and minced
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/3 cup chicken broth
  • 2 lbs boneless, skinless chicken thighs
  • Lime wedges and additional sliced scallions for garnish (optional)

Jerk Mixture

  • 2 tbsp molasses
  • 2 tbsp lime juice
  • 2 tbsp paprika
  • 1 1/2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 1/2 tbsp garlic powder
  • 1 1/2 tsp allspice
  • 1 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • 3/4 tsp cayenne, or to taste
  • 1/4 tsp pepper

Instructions:

  1. Prepare corn muffin mix according to package directions, then stir in sliced scallions and minced jalapeno.
  2. Coat the inside of a silicone egg bite mold with nonstick spray (we love these: https://amzn.to/2Q2dnyq).   
  3. Divide corn muffin batter into the egg bite molds. Tap on the counter to even the batter and release and bubbles. Cover loosely with foil–do not seal.
  4. In a medium bowl, combine the Jerk Mixture ingredients and stir until uniform. Reserve half the jerk mixture and set aside.
  5. Add olive oil to the Instant Pot. Using the display panel select the SAUTE function.
  6. Coat the chicken thighs in the remaining jerk mixture, then brown the chicken on both sides, 3-4 minutes per side. Meat will not be cooked through. Do not crowd the pot–you may have to work in batches. Transfer browned meat to a shallow dish and cover loosely with foil.
  7. Add broth to the pot and deglaze by using a wooden spoon to scrape the brown bits from the bottom of the pot.
  8. Add chicken to the pot in an even layer, then spread remaining jerk mixture on the chicken.
  9. Insert the steam rack (for neatest results, we prefer using a riser like this one: https://amzn.to/2xTvP5g) and lower the egg bite mold onto the riser using a foil sling.
  10. Turn the pot off by selecting CANCEL, then secure the lid, making sure the vent is closed.
  11. Using the display panel select the MANUAL function*. Use the +/- keys and program the Instant Pot for 10 minutes.
  12. When the time is up, let the pressure naturally release for 5 minutes, then quick-release the remaining pressure.
  13. Serve the chicken with cornbread. Garnish with lime wedges and additional sliced scallions, if desired..

*The MANUAL and PRESSURE COOK buttons are interchangeable.