How do you solve a problem like tomatillos? Make salsa! In my case, I had about five, sad tomatillos sitting in my crisper, quietly veering toward death. I couldn’t let such a wretched fate befall my green pals; so I recruited them to service via my trusty Spring cookbook, Mexican Everyday by Rick Bayless. I quickly found a recipe I could make with the ingredients I had on hand — Toasty Guajillo Chile Salsa — and got to work.
But what’s the fun of salsa if you’ve got nothing to slather it onto? Enter Rick Bayless’s Spicy Baked Chicken with Mango. A few grimy pics after the jump…
Making the salsa is a breeze. Naturally, I neglected to photograph nearly the entire process. First, I heated up a little oil and toasted some dried guajillo chiles in it for about thirty seconds. I then removed the chiles to my (crappy) blender and wiped the oil out of the skillet. Next came the above process: browning tomatillos and garlic. A thrilling time indeed.
Anyhoo… the salsa experience came to a thrilling climax as I pureed the garlic, tomatillos, and chiles together with some water and salt. The result: ¡SALSA!
Moving on to the mango chicken, our first ingredient: mangoes! Normally I would buy a full mango, but fearing that I would have to wait days upon days for my mango to ripen, I splurged a hefty $4 on mango spears (which I then diced) from Fresh & Easy. For the record, they weren’t that ripe. Money = wasted.
While the Fresh & Easy mango spears were a bit disappointing, their bone-in chicken breasts were A DELIGHT. These giant slabs of poultry bosom cost me a total of $8. I think they weighed about thirty-five pounds. Nevertheless, here they are seasoned with salt, pepper, and chili powder. FOR THE RECORD, this was my doing. Rick says nothing of seasoning the chicken in his book. Do yourself a favor, and season away.
I really want you all to take in my expert seasoning job.
And there’s the aforementioned salsa, all poured on top of the chicken. Trust me when I say it’s a delicious, smokey, tangy sauce, not baby poop.
The mango makes it look better.
At this point, the dish goes into a 400 degree oven for what is supposed to be only 20 to 30 minutes, according to RICK. Let’s cut the bullshit. It took 55 minutes. Maybe it was because of my giant breasts, but there was no way this chicken would be done in half an hour (and sure enough, it wasn’t).
Eventually, this is what the chicken looked like when it was done.
I then attempted to spoon off the fat from the sauce, which I am always so bad at. I did my best and then added some honey and tried to mash the mango into the liquid. Once again, the unripened mango came back to haunt me. It simply would NOT mash. You’d think for having been roasting away for nearly an hour, the mango would be a prime candidate for some casual fork mashing, but no! NO! It refused. The few pieces I did attempt to mash eventually sprung out from beneath my fork and found asylum in the dark crevice between my oven and my fridge, never to be seen again…
Actually, really good! This is a simple recipe, but it had a lot of flavor. It’s definitely not something that will blow away company or reign supreme at a potluck. But for a simple weekday dinner, it totally fits the bill. I do wish I had been able to mash that mango more, but instead I simply ate a few chunks with each bite, which worked just fine. Another upside: this dish yielded HELLA chicken. In fact, I repurposed one of the breasts today into BENCHILADAS with some leftover sauce from the previous BENCHILADAS experience, which means that now I have about three more meals that have stemmed from this simple dish.
Easy, easy, easy, especially if you’ve made the salsa in advance.