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Reef Chicken

This sweet, sticky, spicy chicken traybake recipe from Marie Mitchell couldn't be easier to make and is delicious packed into roti with plenty of slaw or served with rice. Use fresh spices and molasses if you can to maximise the flavour of the marinade.

From the book


Known as the ‘nature island of the Caribbean’, Dominica is a place I long to visit. Mostly covered in rainforest, it also has hot springs, volcanoes and rare flora and fauna. I know all that from spending far too long on Google lusting at photos, but its spirit I know from the stories I’ve heard from friends whose mums were born there. Dominica has the largest community of Caribs, now known as the Kalinago people, in the region. These are the survivors of colonialism: first came the French (the Spanish deemed the place ‘too hard to control’), whose influence is still evident in the island’s food and place names, and then came the British, whose cultural hangover lingers. The surviving peoples are, I think, what give the island its majesty.

You might think there’s a lot going on in this recipe, but the mango chutney and rum glaze make it exactly the kind of food that gets me excited. I prefer to use fresh ginger and garlic and molasses sugar, as they give richness, but you can easily swap in fresh for ground spices and use brown sugar. This is so good wrapped in a roti, with Sweet Tangy Coleslaw (see page 112 of KIN) and a touch of yogurt.

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8 skin-on, bone-in chicken thighs
1 tsp fine sea salt
½ tsp ground black pepper
50g molasses sugar or dark brown soft sugar
4 tbsp dark rum
2 tbsp lime juice
2 tsp white pepper
25g ginger root, grated, or 1 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp ground cloves
½ tsp ground cinnamon
¼ lemon, zest only
1 garlic clove, grated
3 tbsp Mango Chutney
flat-leaf parsley, leaves roughly chopped, to serve (optional)


Place the chicken in a large bowl and massage the salt and black pepper into and under the skin. Set aside.

In a mortar, mix together the molasses or brown sugar and 2 tablespoons of the rum, along with the lime juice, white pepper, ginger, cloves, cinnamon, lemon zest and garlic, pounding a little to make a paste. Massage this into the chicken, including under the skin, then cover the bowl and refrigerate for at least 1 hour, but no longer than 24 hours.

About 30 minutes before you intend to cook, remove the meat from the fridge to bring it up to room temperature and preheat the oven to 200°C/180°C fan/Gas 6. Place the chicken, skin side up, in a shallow baking tin and bake it for 45 minutes, or until the juices run clear.

Meanwhile, in a bowl whisk together the mango chutney with the remaining rum until combined.

Baste the skin of the cooked chicken with the rum-laced chutney, then return it to the oven for a further 3–4 minutes, until the chutney is warm. Or, if you want extra-crispy skin, heat your grill to high and place the glazed chicken under the grill, leaving it until the skin starts to caramelize. Serve sprinkled with roughly chopped parsley, if you wish.


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