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Jerk Chicken Bites with Rum Glazed Pineapple

This simple but stunning appetizer of juicy, spicy, Jerk Chicken Bites is topped with grilled, caramelized Rum Glazed Pineapple. This gorgeous dish will be a hit for any party and is easily scaled up to feed more.
Author Rebecca Lindamood

Ingredients

For the Jerk Chicken::

  • Tops to an entire bunch of green onions from 6-10 onions
  • 1 red onion peeled and coarsely chopped
  • 2 whole habaneros or jalapenos for less heat, stems removed but seeds left intact
  • ½ cup malt or cider vinegar
  • ½ cup lime juice
  • 1/4 cup Captain Morgan's Black Spiced Rum
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon dried thyme leaves
  • 1 tablespoon molasses
  • 4 teaspoons ground cinnamon preferably Vietnamese
  • 4 teaspoons ground ginger
  • 4 teaspoons ground allspice
  • 2 teaspoons ground or grated nutmeg
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 2 teaspoons freshly ground or cracked black pepper
  • 1 1/2-3 pounds boneless skinless chicken thighs

For the Rum Glazed Pineapple:

  • 1 can pineapple slices in juice 20 ounces, juice drained but reserved
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup Captain Morgan's Black Spiced Rum
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped seeded jalapeño pepper
  • 1 tablespoon cider vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon ginger beer or ginger ale
  • 2 teaspoons cornstarch
  • zest of 1 lime
  • olive oil
  • salt

Optional for Garnish:

  • Fresh pomegranate arils
  • chopped cilantro or parsley

Instructions

To Marinate the Jerk Chicken Bites:

  1. Add all ingredients EXCEPT the chicken thighs to a blender and blend until mostly smooth. Cut the chicken into 1-inch cubes and add to a resealable zipper top bag. Pour over the chicken in the bag. Squeeze as much air out as you can and marinate the chicken in the refrigerator overnight or at least 8 hours.

On a gas or charcoal grill:

  1. Soak a handful of wooden skewers in warm water for 30 minutes while preparing the grill and chicken.
  2. Heat a gas grill on HIGH or build a hot bed of coals to one side in a charcoal grill. Thread the chicken onto the skewers taking care not to crowd them. Grill them over direct heat on an oiled grill for 3- 4 minutes before turning them. Flip them sooner if they're cooking too quickly. Cook on the second side for 3-4 minutes. Continue cooking and turning, trying to get colour all over the chicken as long as necessary to cook through to 165°F internally, about 2 minutes. Transfer the skewers to a clean plate and let rest while preparing the pineapple.

Under a Broiler:

  1. Soak a handful of wooden skewers in warm water for 30 minutes while preparing the broiler pan and chicken. Lightly spray a broiler pan with non-stick cooking spray. Thread the chicken onto skewers, taking care not to crowd them. Line them up on the broiler pan and cook 5 inches under the broiler, for about 6 minutes per side or until chicken cubes measure 165°F internally.

On a Stove Top:

  1. Add just enough canola or olive oil to coat the bottom of a non-stick pan. Drain as much marinade off of the chicken as possible. Cook the chicken over medium high heat, flipping frequently, for 6-8 minutes or until has taken on colour all over and measures 165°F internally. Take care as the oil will spatter because of the marinade.

To Make the Rum Glazed Pineapple:

  1. Pour the pineapple juice from the can into a saucepan. Add the brown sugar, rum, jalapeño, and cider vinegar to the pan. Bring to a boil then reduce heat and simmer for 5 minutes. In a separate small bowl, whisk together the cornstarch and ginger beer or ginger ale. Whisk this into the simmering juice mixture and bring to a boil, stirring constantly. Lower the heat and let the mixture simmer for 1 minute, then remove from the heat and stir in the lime zest.
  2. Brush the pineapple slices with oil and sprinkle lightly with salt. Space them on the hot grill (or on a hot, oiled grill pan). Flip them when they have grill marks on the first side. Brush with the glaze and let it cook on the second side until that too has grill marks. Flip the pineapple again and brush generously with more glaze. When the first side has caramelized a bit (has some small blackened areas and is sticky to the touch) flip it and caramelize the second side. When that side is also sticky to the touch, transfer the pineapple slices to a cutting board, cut into pieces that are roughly equal to the size of your jerk chicken bites. You can save the additional glaze to use as a dip at the table, if you wish!

To Put the Bites Together:

  1. Remove the chicken from the skewers (if they were used.) Skewer one piece of Rum Glazed Pineapple on top of each Jerk Chicken Bites with a toothpick. Arrange them on a platter and sprinkle, if desired, with pomegranate arils and chopped cilantro. Enjoy!