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Serve braised chicken with sweet fried plantains for an easy weeknight meal

Jamaican ingredients add big bold flavor to tender chicken thighs and caramelized plantains.
Ashley Lonsdale
/ Source: TODAY

Recipe developer, writer and ButcherBox's chef-in-residence Ashley Lonsdale is stopping by the TODAY kitchen to make two of her favorite Caribbean-inspired recipes. She shows us how to make tender chicken with braised cabbage in a gingery scallion sauce and fried sweet plantains with tangy pickled red onions.

It's not jerk chicken, to be certain, but this recipe does pull some ingredient inspiration from the traditional and beloved Jamaican marinade. Sharp scallions, warming allspice, and fragrant ginger come together in a zippy green sauce, the perfect companion to tender, slow-cooked chicken thighs. A nod to the flavors of an island dinner. Recipes like this remind me I don't always have to travel to take a flavor vacation.

Braised chicken thighs are a weeknight dinner hero of mine. Easy to execute and deeply flavorful, chicken thighs can be cooked longer than the more popular chicken breasts due to higher levels of connective tissue. The longer the chicken thighs cook with low and slow heat, the more tender they become, giving home cooks ample wiggle room for a long braise. Choosing bone-in and skin-on chicken thighs provides the opportunity for an irresistibly crispy skin — although boneless and skinless chicken thighs work in this recipe, too!

My favorite pairing for this meal is a side of fried sweet plantains. This side dish stands up perfectly to the richness of the chicken thighs and the intensity of the spicy scallion- ginger sauce.

Sweet Plantains with Quick-Pickled Red Onion

I love these fried sweet plantains topped with quick-pickled red onions. And when I say quick pickled, I mean the quickest technique: just a brief marinade in a few shakes of vinegar and a pinch of salt to transform sliced red onions into a tangy, bright pink topping. Sweet plantains are a Jamaican dinnertime staple and were frequently on my family's dinner table while I was growing up. The union of sweet, creamy plantains and bright, pickled onions is a delightful match. This side dish stands up perfectly to the richness of the chicken thighs and the intensity of the spicy scallion-ginger sauce.

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