Amy Winehouse’s favourite: Jerk Chicken


July 25, 2011 – Amy Winehouse’s untimely death at 27 has definitely shaken up the global music industry.

Winehouse’s body was found in her London flat on Saturday, and news of her death spread through the social media world like wildfire.  In Winehouse’s memory, fans laid flowers and other tributes such as beer cans at her overnight vigil.

Winehouse, was known for her troubled battle with alcohol and substance abuse; leaving fans to speculate that her death might have been drug-related.  However, aside from the drugs, cigarettes, alcohol, eating disorder and other troubles; how else can we remember and pay tribute to such a talented artist?


Amy Winehouse’s favourite was Jerk Chicken

Most of us who have rocked out to Winehouse’s catchy soulful tunes and truthful lyrics have probably wondered where her inspiration came from.  While Winehouse was working on her third album, she revealed that she had a lot of Caribbean food delivered to the studio.  Winehouse even wrote in one of her songs: “I can cook, chicken soup, meatballs, a good chicken – jerk and fried.” Seems fitting that good old-fashioned soul food was the preferred choice of such a soulful voice.

So, in tribute to Amy Winehouse, here is a great Jerk Chicken recipe that will surely bring back the memories of friendship and laughter.


Jerk Chicken Recipe


  • 1/2 cup malt vinegar (or white vinegar)
  • 2 Tbsp dark rum
  • Scotch bonnet peppers (or habaneros), with seeds, chopped
  • 1 red onion, chopped
  • 4 green onion tops, chopped
  • 1 Tbsp dried thyme or 2 Tbsp fresh thyme leaves, chopped
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
  • 4 teaspoons ground allspice
  • 4 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 4 teaspoons ground nutmeg
  • 4 teaspoons ground ginger
  • 2 teaspoons molasses
  • 1 (5 or 6 pound) roasting chicken, cut in half, lengthwise
  • 1/2 cup lime juice
  • Salt and pepper

Safety note. Scotch Bonnet and Habanero chile peppers are very hot and can cause extreme pain if they come in contact with your eyes. We strongly recommend wearing protective gloves while handling the chilies and the jerk paste.


1 Put vinegar, rum, hot peppers, onion, green onion tops, thyme, olive oil, salt, pepper, allspice, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, and molasses into a blender. Pulse until mostly smooth.

2 Place chicken in a large freezer bag, or in a large roasting pan or baking dish. Pour lime juice over the chicken and coat well. Add the jerk paste to the chicken pieces and coat well. Seal the bag or cover the chicken in the pan with plastic wrap. Refrigerate overnight.

3 When you are ready to cook the chicken, remove chicken from the marinade bag or pan. Put the remaining marinade into a small saucepan. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for 10 minutes. Set aside to use as a basting sauce for the chicken. If you want you can reserve a little of the marinade (once boiled for 10 minutes since it has been in contact with raw chicken) to serve with the chicken or to mix with some ketchup and a dash of soy sauce for a serving sauce.

4a Grilling Method

Preheat grill to medium high. Sprinkle chicken halves with salt and pepper. Place chicken halves, skin side down on the grill grates. Cover. Cook for approximately one hour, keeping the internal grill temperature between 350°F and 400°F, turning the chickens occasionally and basting with marinade, until the chicken halves are cooked through. The chicken is done when the juices run clear (not pink) when a knife tip is inserted into both the chicken breast and thigh, about 165-170°F for the breast and 180-185°F for the thigh. Transfer chicken to platter. Tent loosely with foil to keep warm and let stand 15 minutes.

4b Oven Method
Preheat oven to 350°F. Place chicken halves in a rimmed baking pan, skin side up. Roast until chicken halves are cooked through, about 50-60 minutes. The chicken is done when the juices run clear (not pink) when a knife tip is inserted into both the chicken breast and thigh, about 165-170°F for the breast and 180-185°F for the thigh. Transfer chicken to platter. Tent loosely with foil to keep warm and let stand 15 minutes.

Cut chicken into pieces. Serve with black beans and rice.

Serves 6 to 8.


Recipe source:



Susan Wong is the Editor of Capital Lifestyle, a resident photographer, an award-winning journalist, radio presenter, full-time adventurer, long-time admirer of anything edible, and a spicy food athlete at Capital FM.

  • Joshua Ngaatu

    I hope Mr. Waikenda you are not adressing youth in Central, Rift Valley, Nairobi and Upper Eastern but the general kenya

  • Patriot

    You used Sakaja to get power, now you (TNA) are cutting him loose.Please tell that to your party members first

  • We haven’t anything from the likes of Greece, Argentina and Cyprus. Kenya is fast living beyond its means. It is imperative for Kenya to cut unnecessary spending or else we are headed to being another morality tale to the world. Kenya roughly sums up the political problems throughout the world, greed and theft. Refusal to live within their means usually ends up only in one place….Who was it who said history repeats itself ?

  • Gabby

    …….First of all…..inflation…..Secondly,….higher imports, and reduced competitiveness….. Couldn’t have said it better myself BUT Mr DP, one great enemy of economic growth is CORRUPTION and LAX ENFORCEMENT of EXISTING LAWS that perpetuate the two points you cite above in grievous ways than can be summed here on this blog and nips the life out of the many innocent poverty-stricken folks especially those who go into their early morning business in the rural areas with meagre returns to show for! It is also time for CLEAR CUT anti-importation spending especially in things that can be manufactured here and a wise eye on the new mineral wealth. A simple thing of displaying the directors of companies in ‘partnership’ with prospecting conglomerates can go a long way. It’s time for a whirlwind tour of the country to explain in economic laymen terms to the populace the very things you have written and more, rounded off by economic meetings with key industry players in the capital here in Nairobi. That is the crux of the matter!

  • Kwessi Pratt

    When traces of wastefulness are seemingly associated with you, your Excellency, and with no corresponding income, the spirit of your well founded argument disappears. And thats where the catch is. Can government spend wisely before crying? When jubilee came to power, we thought we had entered new territory of massive income generating enterprises! May be the bravado was after all not accompanied by well planned systematic attempts to industrialize the country?

  • K Shah

    The youth are always used everytime and yet every election we hear of the same problem over and over again. Mungiki finally realized that and stopped being used by them. Its time Kenyans learn that this is not acceptable.

  • golditberg

    When you look at Orengo, Kethi, and Kalonzo it is a clear indicator that corruption fights back. They are caught red handed, and they need to change and cover-up everything using court processes.

    Old Lawyers such as Orengo are adept in covering-up rot. PEV was definitely planned by the hard liners in ODM.

    Pure rot.

  • Carey

    I thought you elected in the youth….what excuses are were having now!

  • Carey

    when you tax us at 30%,how does this spur economic growth….if you waived tax on income below 50,000….people will have more disposable income,increase spending…this will spur production creating more jobs…this is economics 101;Also consider making payments every 14 days and see the spiral effect

  • Carey

    Give us specifics on cost cutting and by when

  • Duncan Muchina

    You said it your Excellency…stay on top of wage bill management. It’s your’s and HE Uhuru’s legacy at stake. You are the dynamic duo! We believe in you to deliver and spur the country to greater heights. May God be with you.

  • nyakundi

    What you say Mr. Ruto is true,all you’re saying would have been avoided if the MP’s never asked for an increase in their salaries. Now that they did, Kenyans who are earning low salaries like teachers and civil servants will want their salaries increased. Then some sectors will also ask for their salaries to be increased. The solution even for future governments is finding away of taming MP’s hunger for higher wages. If you do that at list some aspects of the wage cycle will be reduced, giving the government ample space to grow the economy. The MP’s since 2002 have always triggered the cycle by asking for higher wages. Find a way of taming them,and the cycle will be cut down!

  • Anonymous

    Nice school of thought,but alas,Your Excellency,you helped in negotiating for an increase to the MPs salaries. Their salaries are just astronomical and insulting to someone like me trying to make a living with way much less.Add to that the wasteful spending by government officials and the problem seems to be lying with the political class and not the civil servants.Politicians will run down this country.

  • Nyangwes

    It is a fact that the very definition of if you want to spell waste, its “Government”. It is the text book definition. For government, it is not even the big ticket items. It is the fresh flowers everyday, that no one even glances at, and actually makes allergies worse. It is buying all the three daily newspapers for all rank and file. It is the “support staff” that ‘waheshimiwa’ seem unable to function without, and most of whom somehow have a connection with the office bearer. In Kenya we have a new money making scheme called “Commissions”. It is people doing the work that government ought to be doing, or at least pretending to do so. Like the CIC, trying to be the National Assembly and AG’s office combined, and yet these offices have office bearers. It is the Commission on Land, another on Reconciliation, another on Nation Building, 150 people now refer to themselves as Commissioners, and all these take out full page adverts looking for “Pre-Qualification of Suppliers” more fresh flowers, and milk, and furniture.

    It is the “refurbishment” of already plush living and work places. Russia has just banned the building and refurbishment of any official offices or residences for 5 years to cut spending. How about we borrow that leaf from the Moscow Book?

    The Huge wage bill is a scapegoat. There is enough waste in government, and that is why, beginning with the “people’s servants”, ie, our elected officials, they feel the need like the Israelites of yore, to take a basket and go collect as much manna as they can. Talk is cheap. If the government REALLY wants to curb waste, start by replacing all fresh flowers with plastic ones, and use the radio to make public announcements instead of taking paid out ads in the newspapers…..afterall, not that many of us afford to buy them anyway.

  • Blame it on the MPs increased pay that you helped negotiate. Teachers deserve a better pay and so are doctors/nurses and the Police.

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