Chipotle-Mango Barbecue Chicken with Cilantro Chimichurri

The heat wave has broken!  Well, for today, anyway.  Our string of 90-degree days has finally come to an end, and we’re enjoying a much more Minnesota-like afternoon in the low 80’s.  During any other summer that’d seem pretty warm, but this year it’s a refreshing break.  Even so, the sun was shining and the lawn was freshly mowed, so it was a perfect day to entertain Jim and Sandra for our monthly dinner.  And how better to celebrate the day?  Bring on some smoke and heat!

The menu today was from a Guy Fieri article in Food Network Magazine entitled “Guy at the Grill”, and right away we knew it would be a winner for a mid-summer cookout.  The bonus for us was that we knew Jim is a huge fan of “Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives”, so this choice was going to be a slam dunk.  We were not disappointed!

The Chipotle-Mango Barbecue sauce for the chicken had a fantastic flavor, and there were so many things going on that we found it to be quite complex.  The mangoes and lemon juice and rice vinegar gave us an initial hit of sweetness with just a bit of tart.  On it’s own this might have quickly become too much, but then the chipotle peppers and adobo sauce took over, and the subtle heat gave it a very welcome balance.  The cilantro and garlic flavors were there as a subtle backdrop, and the net effect of all these flavors on the grilled chicken was terrific.  On alternating bites I spread a little of the chimichurri on the chicken, and was rewarded with a bright burst of contrasting freshness.  This was an entree that had everyone at the table smiling!

Some notes on the preparation:  If I had it to do again (and I probably will), I think I’d go without the skin on the chicken.  This has only a little to do with the health aspects of the dish, and much more to do with the ease of grilling.  I don’t know if it’s just me, but whenever I try to grill skin-on chicken I seem to have a little flame-up problem.  Little, like the cauldron at the London Olympic games.  Does anyone else find this to be an issue?  I think if I were to forgo the skin I might be able to control this little issue and not fear that I’m going to burn down my house.  Also, I found the chimichurri to be a little too “liquidy”, and so I drained off some of the liquid before serving.  I tested the flavors and they didn’t seem to suffer at all.  You may want to watch that.

Overall, this was a terrific meal!  We served it with Guy’s “Smoking Potato Salad” and “Long Beach Coleslaw”, and I’d recommend both of those as well.  It was a terrific day, and a smokey, grilled meal with a bit of peppery heat complemented it perfectly.

Enjoy!

Ingredients:

Chicken:

  • 3 mangoes, peeled, pitted and chopped
  • 1-1/4 cups loosely packed fresh cilantro, not chopped, stems and all
  • 3 chipotle chili peppers in adobo sauce, plus 1 tbsp sauce from the can
  • 3 tbsp rice vinegar (not seasoned)
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 3 tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • 1-1/2 tbsp canola oil, plus more for the grill
  • Kosher salt and freshly cracked pepper
  • 12 pieces skin-on, bone-in mixed chicken thighs and drumsticks (about 5 pounds)

Chimichurri:

  • 1-1/2 cups fresh cilantro leaves
  • 1/2 cup fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves
  • 2 scallions, white parts only, roughly chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 cup grapeseed oil
  • 1 tsp agave syrup
  • 1/4 cup fresh lime juice
  • Kosher salt and freshly cracked pepper

Preparation:

  1. Prepare the chicken:  Put the mangoes, cilantro, chipotles, adobo sauce, vinegar, garlic, lemon juice, canola oil, 1 tbsp salt and 1 tsp pepper in a food processor and puree until smooth.  Adjust the seasoning to taste.
  2. Toss the chicken with half of the mango mixture in a resealable plastic bag and massage to coat the chicken with the sauce.  Refrigerate at least 6 hours to marinate.
  3. Put the other half of the mango mixture in a small saucepan and simmer over low heat until thick, stirring often, about 15 minutes.  Season with salt. Set some of the simmered mango sauce aside for serving and use the rest for basting.
  4. Preheat grill to medium and brush with canola oil.  Remove the chicken from the marinade, brushing off the excess marinade so it doesn’t burn, and put on the grill.  Grill the chicken, turning, until fully cooked through, about 30 minutes.  Baste with the simmered mango sauce during the last 5 minutes.
  5. Meanwhile, make the chimichurri:  Combine the cilantro, parsley, scallions, garlic, grapeseed oil, agave, lime juice, salt and pepper to taste in a food processor and pulse to roughly chop.  Continue processing until the sauce is finely chopped but not smooth (it shouldn’t be a puree).  Set aside at least 15 minutes before serving.
  6. Transfer the chicken to a platter and serve with the chimichurri and reserved mango sauce.
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One Response to Chipotle-Mango Barbecue Chicken with Cilantro Chimichurri

  1. cathincolor says:

    This was so delicious & if you like spice, it had it. I think you may need to add the recipe for the Smokin’ Potato Salad for your followers. That was the best tasting potato salad I’ve ever eaten! Great grilling Hon, we loved it all!

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