By Marcus Samuelsson | December 8, 2010

With the year coming to a close, I’m thinking a lot about holidays, and how to celebrate another year that has passed.  I’m looking forward to the upcoming Kwanzaa holiday, which begins December 26th, to celebrate my African heritage, and enjoy time with family and friends.  I think my Jerk Chicken recipe from Soul of a New Cuisine would be a perfect centerpiece for your meal.
Kwanzaa has seven principles, one of which, umoja, means unity.  You honor umoja when you bring your family and community together for the feast of Kwanzaa this year, and what better way to do it than share good food with loved ones.


Perfect Jerk Chicken For Kwanzaa Recipe

Servings: 8
Calories: 362 per serving


  • One 3 to 4 pound chicken
  • 1/2 cup Jerk Mix
  • 2 thyme sprigs, cut in half
  • 1/2 head garlic, top third cut off and paper skin removed
  • 2 Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled and cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 1 sweet potato, peeled and cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 1 medium parsnip, peeled and cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 1/2 medium Spanish onion, cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 1 pear, peeled, cored, and cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 1 quince, peeled, cored, and cut into 1-inch cubes


1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Using your hand, gently loosen the skin of the chicken breast. Generously rub half of the jerk mix under and all over the breast skin. Stuff half the thyme under the skin. put the garlic in the cavity of the chicken. Truss the chicken. Set aside on a plate.

2. Combine the Yukon Gold potatoes, sweet potato, parsnip in a large pot and add enough salted water to cover. Bring to a boil over high heat and boil for about 10 minutes, until just slightly tender. Drain.

3. Toss the potatoes, sweet potato, parsnip, and onion with the remaining jerk mix, then spread the vegetables in a single layer in a roasting pan. Add the remaining thyme. Place the chicken on a roasting rack above the vegetables, and roast for 45 minutes.

4. Add the pear and quince to the roasting pan, increase the oven temperature to 375 degrees F, and roast for an additional 30 to 40 minutes, until an instant-read thermometer inserted in the thigh registers 160 degrees F and the juices run clear.

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