Dinner by Hale Groves: Grilled Jerk Chicken with Florida Mango Salsa, Coconut-Lime Rice and Sauteed Asparagus

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A Recipe by Chef Andrew Morris: 

Ohhhh, mango! Sweet, juicy and oh-so-delicious, we get excited every summer for our magnificent South Florida Mangos. Mangos are popular the world over, but they used to be hard to get in North America because they don’t last long after they’re picked. Not anymore – a family farm right here in Florida developed this US-grown variety. These tropical-tasting beauties are grown on mature trees (mature trees produce the best fruit), handpicked, and shipped out on the very same day so you can enjoy them at their best.

Our madness for mangos has led us to enlist the help of a good friend of ours – local professional Chef Andrew Morris – to create a special recipe around this delectable fruit for us and our friends to enjoy. Chef Morris did us one better – he created a whole dinner, one that’s nutritious, quick and easy enough for weeknight family meals (don’t let the long list of ingredients food you – it’s actually not at all hard to prepare), yet delicious, colorful and attractive enough to serve your guests. We can’t get enough of this recipe!

Going for big, bold flavors, Chef Morris used our South Florida Mangos to create a fresh and summery-tasting, sweet-and-spicy salsa that he then paired with spicy Jamaican jerk chicken. He then tamed all that delightful heat with sides of creamy and fluffy coconut-lime rice and garlicky sauteed asparagus for a perfectly balanced assortment of flavors that will please almost any palate.

For the Jamaican jerk seasoning rub, you may use any pre-prepared jerk seasoning of your choice (Truly Delicious Foods’ Spicy Jamaican Jerk from Ft. Pierce is Chef Morris’s personal favorite), or you may make your own using the ingredients below (you’ll have enough left over for several batches of this recipe or for use in other recipes, so have a small jar handy to store it in).

For the Jamaican jerk rub:
2 Tbsp. garlic powder
1 Tbsp. onion powder
1 Tbsp. chopped dried onion
1 Tbsp. paprika
1 tsp. – 1 Tbsp. crushed chilies (Scotch bonnet is traditional, but red pepper will also work)
½ tsp. black pepper
½ tsp. cumin
½ tsp. ground allspice
½ tsp. ground cinnamon
2 tsp. brown sugar
1 tsp. dried thyme

For the salsa:

2 Hale Groves South Florida Mangos, cut into ¼” cubes (about 4 c.)
1 small red onion, diced (about ¾ c.)
1 large red bell pepper, chopped into ¼” pieces (about 1 c.)
1 jalapeño, seeded and diced
1 Tbsp. garlic, minced
2 limes, zested and juiced
3-4 sprigs fresh cilantro, roughly chopped
Salt and pepper, to taste

For the rice:
2 c. basmati rice
14.5oz can of unsweetened coconut milk
1 c. water
1 Tbsp. salt
1 Tbsp. lime juice

For the asparagus:
1 lb. asparagus
2 tsp. garlic, minced
Salt and pepper, to taste

Prepare the rub:
TIP: Note the amount range given for the crushed red peppers (1 teaspoon to 1 tablespoon). This should be adjusted for how spicy you like your salsa!
• In a small bowl, thoroughly mix together garlic powder, onion powder, dried onion, paprika, crushed chilies, black pepper, cumin, ground allspice, ground cinnamon, brown sugar and thyme. Store in a small jar.

Prepare the salsa:
TIP: Prepare the salsa first. While it can be used immediately, allowing it to rest for an hour ahead of time gives the flavors a chance to blend, making it even more delicious.
• Soak the chopped red onion in cold water for 15 minutes (this keeps the onion flavor from overpowering the other ingredients. Drain.
• Gently mix together the red onion, South Florida Mango, red bell pepper, jalapeno, minced garlic, cilantro and juice and zest from one lime (about 2 tablespoons of juice and 2 teaspoons of zest). Add salt and black pepper to taste. Taste the salsa; if it is too sweet for your preference you may add another tablespoon of lime juice (reserving the remaining tablespoon of lime juice for the rice).

Prepare the rice:
• In a small pot, bring coconut milk, water, lime juice and salt to a boil over high heat.
• While waiting for the pot to boil, rinse rice until the water is mostly clear; drain. Stir rice into the boiling pot, reduce heat to low and cover. Simmer for 12 minutes.
• Remove pot from heat and let stand, covered, for 15 minutes. Lightly fluff rice with a spoon before serving.

Prepare the chicken:
• While the rice is cooking, salt the chicken breasts, then lightly dust them with the jerk rub. Be sure to coat both sides.
• If you’re using a grill: oil the grill grates and cook the chicken over medium heat (about 5 minutes each side).
• If you’re using the stovetop: heat pan over medium-high heat. Oil two turns of the pan with extra-virgin olive oil (about 2 tablespoons). Cook chicken 5 minutes each side until golden brown.

Prepare the asparagus:
• Trim fibrous ends from the asparagus.
• Heat a medium-size pan over medium-high heat. Oil one turn of the pan with extra-virgin olive oil (about 1 tablespoon). Add minced garlic.
• Wait about 30 seconds, then add the asparagus to the pan. Add salt and pepper to taste and sauté until crisp-tender. Remove from pan and serve.

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