potato muffin with allspice.
is a victim of its own name.
canít blame someone for seeing the word
"allspice" and thinking that it is a blend of many
spices ó or even all spices. Itís a natural assumption.
allspice is just one spice, a dried berry from a broadleaf
evergreen tree that grows primarily on the islands of the
Caribbean Sea and Central America. It got its English name,
according to a book published in 1736, because it tastes
like "all the other spices."
when people today try to describe the taste, they limit the
mixture of spices it resembles to cinnamon, cloves and
nutmeg. Sometimes they also add juniper, ginger and black
this means to the home cook is that allspice can be counted
on to add an extra kick to practically everything. Whatever
tastes good with cinnamon, cloves or nutmeg tastes even
better (or at least just as good) with allspice. And it is
great in the sort of things you donít necessarily
associate with cloves or cinnamon too, such as soups and
stews and vegetables.
next time you make a chicken soup ó or beef soup, or
tomato ó add a little allspice. Four or five berries will
do for a gallon of soup, or one berry for every quart of
liquid. Or if you are making a pot roast, stew or other
braised dish, try three to five allspice berries for a
lovely hint of the flavor of the islands.
donít forget to use it in desserts, too. Allspice is like
cardamom; it is just as happy in sweet dishes as it is in
savory. Cookies, cakes, oatmeal and even applesauce all perk
up a bit when sprinkled with ground allspice.
decided to use it in three distinctly different ways: as
part of a flavorful rub on roast chicken, in a spicy
marinade inspired (and perhaps used) by the indigenous
people of the Caribbean islands and in muffins made,
surprisingly, with sweet potatoes.
potatoes? Yes, allspice also pairs well with all of your
most popular orange vegetables ó carrots, squash and sweet
the chicken first, and Iím glad I did because as it was
baking a marvelous aroma of allspice permeated the kitchen.
Cumin and paprika are also major parts of this dish, but the
spice that you smell is allspice. And it is sublime.
dish is wonderfully easy to make, too. You simply combine
the spices (including garlic and onion powders and salt and
pepper) with just enough olive oil to make a wet paste. This
you rub all over the chicken ó itís fun to play with
your food ó and then roast it in the oven.
donít even have to wait. With most rubs, you want to let
the spices sit on the meat for a while to let the flavors
permeate the food. But this dish cooks so slowly that the
meat has the chance to absorb the flavor from the spices
while it cooks. It only roasts at 375 degrees, rather than
the 425 degrees or so usually used to cook chicken, and the
chicken winds up being surprisingly tender and moist,
redolent of all the good things smeared on it.
marinade I made is more old school, meaning that the meat
has to soak up the flavor before it is cooked. This is
especially true because I used it to make London broil and,
as with other tough cuts of meat, London broil needs a good,
long marination to make it tender.
great thing about this marinade is that it could be used for
any kind of meat or fish. But try it with a London broil and
let the meat marinate overnight. It is astonishingly good.
Your family or guests will go crazy for it ó as long as
they like their food spicy.
version of the recipe apparently originally comes from the
Arawaks, an indigenous people of the Caribbean islands and
South America. The recipe has it all: It is a little sweet
(brown sugar, molasses), a little salty (soy sauce), a
little spicy (cinnamon, nutmeg and ginger along with the
allspice), a little aromatic (onions, shallots, garlic), a
little fruity (orange juice, red wine) and perhaps more than
a little hot (scotch bonnet chile peppers).
couldnít find scotch bonnets locally, so I used habaneros
instead. They are closely related and pack the same amount
of fierce heat, but scotch bonnets are said to taste a bit
fruitier. Because of the wallop of fire that these peppers
contain, I removed the seeds before chopping them. But the
meat did not turn out to be as spicy as I feared because the
heat was limited by the marinade. If you like it extra hot,
try keeping the seeds in the sauce.
for dessert, I also made sweet-potato muffins. I was a
little uncertain about these as I was making them because
the shredded sweet potato clumped together, making the
batter a bit weird.
neednít have worried. It eventually unclumped (a fair
amount of stirring was involved) and became a recognizable
muffin batter. They baked with no problem.
the taste? Superb. It tasted just like carrot cake, only one
in which the carrots had been removed and replaced with
know that carrot cake flavor. It tastes like cinnamon. And
cloves. And maybe just a hint of nutmeg.
CHICKEN WITH CUMIN, PAPRIKA AND ALLSPICE
4 to 6 servings
to 6 1/2-pound) chicken
tablespoons olive oil
teaspoons ground cumin
teaspoon garlic powder
teaspoon onion powder
teaspoon ground allspice
teaspoon ground black pepper
large lemon, halved
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Rinse chicken; pat dry. Place
chicken on rack in large roasting pan.
a small bowl, stir together the oil, cumin, garlic powder,
onion powder, allspice, paprika, salt and pepper to form a
paste. Rub spice paste all over chicken.
Roast chicken 1 hour. Squeeze juice from lemon halves over
chicken; place lemon halves inside main cavity. Continue to
roast until chicken is cooked through and thermometer
inserted into thickest part of thigh registers 180 degrees,
from 30 to 60 more minutes. Transfer to platter; let stand
serving (based on 6): 609 calories; 37 g fat; 10 g saturated
fat; 206 mg cholesterol; 64 g protein; 2 g carbohydrate; no
sugar; 1 g fiber; 387 mg sodium; 44 mg calcium.
from Bon Appetit
plus 2 tablespoons packed brown sugar
cup canola oil
teaspoon vanilla extract
teaspoons baking powder
teaspoon ground cinnamon
teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
teaspoon ground allspice
peeled, shredded sweet potatoes (about 2 large)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease muffin tins to hold
about 15 muffins.
Crack eggs into a small bowl and beat well. Add brown sugar,
oil and vanilla, and whisk together until smooth.
a large bowl, mix together the flour, baking powder,
cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, salt and grated sweet potato.
Make a well in the center and pour in the egg mixture. Stir
the egg mixture, gradually incorporating it into the sweet
potato mixture. Stir in the raisins and walnuts.
Spoon the batter into the muffin tins; filling them to the
rim will result in large caps. Bake 25 to 30 minutes, or
until a toothpick inserted into the middle comes out clean.
Use a paring knife around the edges of each muffin, if
needed, to help pop them out of the tin. Best when served
serving: 284 calories; 14 g fat; 1 g saturated fat; 25 mg
cholesterol; 4 g protein; 39 g carbohydrate; 21 g sugar; 2 g
fiber; 163 mg sodium; 74 mg calcium.
About 2 1/2 cups
green onions, chopped
tablespoons minced shallots
cloves garlic, minced
teaspoon ground ginger
tablespoon ground allspice
teaspoon ground black pepper
teaspoon ground cinnamon
teaspoon ground nutmeg
tablespoon brown sugar
cup fresh orange juice
cup cider vinegar
cup red wine
cup soy sauce
cup vegetable oil
scotch bonnet chile peppers, see note
Scotch bonnet peppers are closely related to habaneros,
which you can substitute if you cannot find the scotch
bonnet. Both are among the hottest peppers in the world, so
be very careful.
a medium bowl, combine the green onions, shallots, garlic,
ginger, allspice, ground black pepper, cinnamon, nutmeg,
salt, brown sugar, orange juice, vinegar, wine, soy sauce,
oil and molasses.
Chop the peppers and add to the mixture. If you want it a
little less hot, remove the seeds before chopping. Wash your
hands thoroughly, then wash the knife and the cutting board.
well, cover, and allow to sit for 1 hour. Stir again before
using to marinate fish or meat. Marinate fish at least 30
minutes, chicken or pork at least 1 to 2 hours, or beef
(such as for London broil) at least 4 to 6 hours or
overnight. Discard marinade after use.
(2-tablespoon) serving: 70 calories; 6 g fat; 1 g saturated
fat; 0 mg cholesterol; 1 g protein; 4 g carbohydrate; 3 g
sugar; no fiber; 583 mg sodium; 12 mg calcium.
adapted from allrecipes.com