By Sarah Greaves-Gabbadon
CJ Travel Editor
To the long list of reasons why you should rent a Caribbean villa let’s add the most delicious rationale of all: customized dining options. Book a home away from home and mealtimes instantly go from “yawn” to “yowza!” with island-inspired dishes prepared by a private chef to your brood’s tastes.
In Barbados, executive chef Cheahan Burnham specializes in bespoke dining for clients of villa company Blue Sky Luxury, which manages more than 120 plush residences along the island’s coveted west coast. Here, the Sandy Lane and Glitter Bay alum shares his recipe for a chicken dish that offers an authentic taste of Barbados – spiked, of course, with its famously fiery hot sauce.
Crispy Plantain-Stuffed Chicken (Serves 4)
4 ripe plantains (should be about 70% brown with some yellow spots)
2 tablespoons cooking oil (canola or vegetable)
8 ounces scallions, thinly sliced into rings
1 medium yellow onion, finely chopped
1 large red bell pepper, finely chopped
1 tablespoon finely chopped marjoram leaves
1 teaspoon finely chopped thyme leaves
Salt and black pepper to taste
2 tablespoons green seasoning (an onion-, thyme- and scallion-based seasoning available in supermarkets’ Caribbean aisle)
4 boneless skinless chicken breasts
Canola or vegetable oil for frying
Bajan pepper sauce and pepper jelly for serving
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Place the unpeeled plantains on a baking tray and bake for about 30 minutes, or until the flesh begins push through the skin. Set aside to cool. Once cooled, peel the plantains and coarsely chop the flesh into ¼-inch pieces.
Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat and add the scallions, onions, peppers, marjoram, and thyme. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and cook for about three minutes or until the onion is soft and translucent. Transfer into a bowl and add the chopped plantains and the green seasoning. Toss to combine and adjust seasoning if needed.
Insert a paring knife into the thickest part of the chicken breast and cut a hole through the length of the breast, being careful not to cut through the surface. Carefully push the knife back and forth to enlarge the hole. Stuff two to three tablespoons of the filling into each chicken breast. Repeat with the remaining filling and breasts.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Generously coat the bottom of a large skillet with oil and place over high heat. Arrange the stuffed chicken in the pan and cook until golden brown. Turn the chicken to brown the other side. Transfer the chicken to a baking tray and roast until cooked through, for about 20 minutes. Serve with pepper sauce and pepper jelly.
Above: Chef Cheahan Burnham