Blackened Chicken with a Savory Mango Rice

 Blackened Chicken with a Savory Mango Rice

My inspiration for this dish was beautiful ripe mangoes that are in season right now. I enjoy them pretty much on a weekly basis, even when they are not in season. During the week, when I am not grilling outdoors, I make use of both my stove top and oven at the same time to shorten the total cooking time. I will often brown my chicken or pork chops in this manner and let them finish cooking in the oven while I prepare the side dish. In the past I have added fresh mango to some of my rice dishes, but never blended them into the broth. I use this same method of blending when preparing my cilantro chile rice using poblano, cilantro and serranos. Growing up, my mom did not really prepare sweet and savory dishes like this. But, I do remember her adding sliced bananas to the red rice she would prepare when we were very young children. In the last picture of this post, you will see I fried up some plantain chips to serve on the side. This is kind of my grown-up version of that same rice my mom would lovingly prepare for us.

 

Yields 6 servings

 

Ingredients:

For the Chicken:
2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs
1/2 tablespoon chile ancho powder
1/2 tablespoon smoked paprika
1/2 tablespoon lemon pepper (no salt)
1 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon granulated garlic
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon chipotle powder


For Mango Rice:
2 large mango, peeled and diced
2 cups chicken broth
Juice of 2 limes
1 habanero pepper, stem and seeds removed
Salt and pepper to taste
Olive oil
1 cup long-grain rice (I used jasmine rice)
1/2 cup white onion, diced
1/2 cup red bell pepper, diced
1 jalapeño pepper, minced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon coriander, ground
1/3 teaspoon turmeric
1/3 cup cilantro, chopped
Chile limon powder (optional)


Tips~ If you prefer to steam the rice, prepare your broth and mango mixture as directed in the blender. Bring to 
a boil, add rice, vegetables and spices. Cover and cook on low until liquid evaporates. Fluff with fork before serving.


Tips~ Adding fruits, such as mango, pineapple or peaches are a tasty way to incorporate fresh fruits when they are in season.

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 350ºF. Combine the dry spices for the chicken and season chicken on both sides. Preheat 4 tablespoons of olive oil in a large (oven safe) skillet to medium heat for 5 minutes.

2. Sear and blacken the chicken for 3 to 4 minutes per side. Transfer to the oven and continue cooking for 30 minutes, uncovered.

3. In the blender, combine 1/3 of diced mango, 2 cups chicken broth, 1 habanero pepper, 1/2 of the lime juice, salt and pepper to taste. Blend on high until smooth and set aside.

4. In a skillet, preheat 3 tablespoons of olive oil to medium heat for a few minutes. Add the rice and cook, stirring when needed, until rice becomes aromatic and slightly toasted. Add the onions, peppers and garlic. Season lightly with salt and pepper and continue cooking for 5 minutes.

5. To the rice, add cumin, coriander, turmeric, 1/3 teaspoon of pepper and toast for a few seconds. Pulse the mango/broth mixture in blender and pour into pan with rice. Stir well to combine, reduce heat to low and taste for salt. Cover and continue cooking for 18 to 22 minutes or until most of the liquid is absorbed. Remove from heat and let sit for 10 minutes. The rice may stick slightly in the center of pan, but that’s a good thing!

6. Remove chicken from oven and tent loosely with foil paper. In a bowl, combine the remaining mango, cilantro and lime juice. Toss and season to taste with chile limon powder (if using), salt and pepper to taste. Fluff the rice with a fork and fold in the mango/cilantro mixture. Slice the chicken against the grain into thin slices and serve over rice.

Add some crispy plantain chips to the dish to make it extra special! Using a small knife, score the green plantain and peel. Using a sharp knife or a mandolin slicer, slice the plantain. Fry in canola oil heated to 350ºF. Drain onto paper towels and season with salt while still warm.

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