Jerk Challah

One of my best friends (who is an amazing cook) hails from a Jamaican family. This year for Thanksgiving, she made a jerk turkey and since then I have not been able to get the thought of a jerk chicken stuffed challah out of my head!

This dough is made with coconut milk to mimic the coconut rice that is often served with jerk chicken. It is stuffed with the shredded spicy jerk chicken (I’m a wimp with spice and can barely handle the heat of one habanero!)

Dough

3 Teaspoons instant yeast

¼ Cup sugar

½ Teaspoon salt

1 large egg, beaten

¼ cup margarine, melted

½ Cup warm water

½ Cup coconut milk

3-4 Cups flour

Filling

1 ½ Pounds boneless skinless chicken thigh

6 Green onions, chopped

4 Cloves garlic

1 Habanero pepper (can use one additional if you prefer it spicier)

1 ½ Tablespoons ginger, fresh grated

⅓ Cup fresh lime juice

¼ Cup low sodium soy sauce

1 ½ Tablespoons dark brown sugar

1 Tablespoon dried thyme

1 Teaspoon black pepper

1 Teaspoon allspice

½ Teaspoon cinnamon

½ Teaspoon nutmeg

To make the chicken, combine all ingredients (except for chicken) in a food process until only small chunks remain. Place marinade and chicken thighs in a ziploc bag and marinate for 3-48 hours.

Once done marinating, cook the chicken in the oven for 30 minutes at 375 degrees. Let cool completely and shred.

To make the dough, whisk egg, salt, melted margarine, sugar, coconut milk, water, and yeast in a large bowl.


Add the flour one cup at a time to yeast mixture. Using a strong spatula to mix at the beginning and using your hands to mix once it gets too difficult with the spatula.


Once the dough is fully mixed, turn onto a floured surface and knead for ten minutes. (If you don’t knead the dough well enough, the challah will not hold its shape when it is braided.)

Grease a large bowl with spray oil and transfer the dough to the bowl. Cover with a damp paper towel and put in the oven to proof. (Make sure the oven is off!) Proof until the dough is doubled in size about 45 minutes-1 hour.


Once proofed, turn the dough onto a floured surface and cut into 3 equal portions. Shape each of the three portions into a long rope. Flatten each rope and place the cooled chicken in a thick line in the middle of each. Pinch the challah together to form a rope.


Using your palm, press the three ropes together at the top and begin to braid the dough. Once finished braiding, tuck each of the ends under to create a more finished/clean look. Let proof for another 20 minutes.


Preheat oven to 350 degrees. While the oven is heating beat one egg with a splash of water to create an egg wash. Using a pastry brush, brush the egg wash over the top of the loaves. Bake the loaf for 30 minutes.




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