Mango Tamarind Roast Chicken Breasts
Recipe and photo by Tami Ganeles Weiser
Prep Time: 20 minutes Cook Time: 50 minutes
Chefs often say that chicken’s mild flavor makes a wonderful blank canvas for a sauce, and this recipe for roasted chicken breasts proves the point. The lively tropical flavors of mango and tamarind paste give these chicken breasts a whole new personality. Best of all, the chicken partially bakes while you prepare the easy, flavorful sauce; when the sauce is done, you pour some over the chicken, bake for 10 minutes longer, and you’ve got an lusciously different main course.
4 large chicken breasts, bone in and skin on
Nonstick olive oil spray
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 teaspoon kosher salt
½ teaspoon ground allspice
½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
5 ripe mangoes, peeled, pitted, and roughly chopped
1 cup chopped orange and red tomatoes (about 2 large tomatoes)
¼ cup dark brown sugar
3 tablespoons tamarind paste (see Kitchen Tips)
¾ cup low-sodium chicken broth
- Make the chicken breasts: Preheat the oven to 385°F. Rinse the chicken and pat dry. Set a rack over a rimmed baking sheet. Spray the sheet and the rack with nonstick olive oil spray.
- Sprinkle the chicken with the cumin, salt, allspice, and pepper and place it on the rack. Bake for about 25 minutes (don’t worry—you will finish cooking it with a coating of sauce!).
- While the chicken bakes, make the sauce: In a large saucepan, combine the mangoes, tomatoes, sugar, tamarind paste, and chicken broth, set over high heat, stir, and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to a simmer, cover, and cook for 15 minutes, or until the fruit has completely collapsed. Uncover and pour through a wide-mesh strainer into a clean, small pot. Set over medium heat and cook until it is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon and has tacky consistency. Discard the solids.
- Carefully pull the chicken out of the oven and pour half of the sauce over it. Return to the oven and bake for 10 minutes longer, or until the juices run clear by the bone, and an instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part reads 165°F. Remove the chicken from the oven and pour the remaining sauce over the chicken. Let rest for 15 minutes before serving.
- Letting the chicken—or any meat—rest for 15 minutes after cooking allows it to stay juicy. The juices need time to settle down—cooking is a pretty frenetic process for a protein; it makes all those molecules bounce around—and you want the juices to stay inside the meat. Cut too soon and you’ll see juices running out all over your board or plate. Letting the meat rest is a pro trick to keep all meats moist and easy to do at home.
- Tamarind paste can be made at home if you can’t find one that is kosher for you. Click here for a great and simple version that is kosher for Passover. Fresh tamarind can be found in large grocery stores or any Asian, Indian or Middle Eastern market.