Jerk Chicken W/ Mango-Coconut Couscous

I literally made this dish and snapped that photo around 2008, right around the time I began working for gourmet restaurants and was wanting to vamp up my skills to work on other stations. Although it was a long time ago, I can still look at this picture and remember how good it was. I’m a chili head, so habaneros are right up my alley and the couscous was a first for me. When I made it, I wanted a certain freshness that complimented the jerk marinade in the chicken. The flavors played on each other like a beautiful symphony.

The Chicken:

4 large chicken breasts, trimmed


1 tsp thyme leaves


1/2 tsp blk Pepper


1 scotch bonnet, sliced


2 tbs brown sugar


1/4 c lime juice


1 tbs low sodium soy sauce


1/4 c olive oil


1 small yellow onion, diced


1 tsp garlic, crushed and minced


1/2 tsp cinnamon

The Couscous:

1-5.8 oz box plain couscous

1-13.5 oz can coconut milk

1 large-firm roma tomato, seeded and diced

1/2 c sweet peas, frozen

1/4 c baby carrots, diced

2 firm mangos, meat diced and shells left intact (see photo)

1/2 c fresh cilantro, chopped (optional)

Place the chicken in a zip seal bag. Set aside. Combine the next 10 ingredients together and pour over chicken. Press all air out of the bag, coating chicken completely with marinade. Seal and refrigerate for a minimum of 1 hour, preferably 24.

Once chicken is done marinating, heat your grill, flat top or griddle to medium high heat (about 375-400 degrees). While that is heating up, start getting the couscous ready. Bring the coconut milk to a boil over medium high heat. Remove from heat, immediately add couscous. Mix in veggies and mango. Cover and set aside.

If the grill has reached temp, spray generously with nonstick cooking spray. Arrange the breasts on the grill, smooth side down. Brush remaining marinade over chicken and cover. Allow to cook for 10 minutes. Using tongs, turn breasts over, cover and cook an additional 15 minutes. Remove the lid and give them a gentle press. If juices run clear, they’re ready to be taken off. Allow them to rest for 10 minutes or so while you fill the mango shells. Each shell should hold approximately 1-11/2 c of the couscous mixture. Sprinkle with cilantro and set aside. Using two forks, shred chicken. Add about 1/2 c of chicken and top it off with a few pieces of the grilled habaneros and onions. Repeat process with remaining mango shells and you’ve got a fantastic meal.

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