16-Spice Chicken from Mesa Grill

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Prep 10 min   Cook 12 min   Eat 22 min

16-Spice Chicken

16-Spice Chicken

This 16-Spice Chicken from Bobby Flay’s Mesa Grill Cookbook is unbelievably good. You’ll want to be grilling all summer with this spice blend once you taste it.  Mix up the blend, place it in a spice jar and you’ll have enough for most of the summer, making dinner a cinch on those long hot nights.  Perfect for pot-luck barbecues too.

Combine 16 spices found in my pantry to create this spice blend with a depth of flavor.

16 spices found in my pantry created this flavorful spice blend.

We served the 16-Spice Chicken with the Smoked Red Pepper and Cilantro-Pumpkin Seed Sauces at our Southwestern Fiesta Cooking Class.  It looked like a fiesta on a plate!  Real Fresh Food in a Flash that you’ll want to repeat and repeat.

16-Spice Chicken browning in an oven-proof skillet.

16-Spice Chicken browning in an oven-proof skillet.

In this recipe, we use one of my favorite methods for cooking meats and fish.  Brown the meat on medium-high heat in a skillet, then finish it in the oven, where it gets even cooking from indirect heat.  This prevents the meat from overcooking and drying out.  Remove chicken from the oven when it still springs back when pressed with a finger (not rock hard).  It will continue to cook off the heat.   For beautiful presentation, use skin-on, bone-in chicken or for quicker cooking, use boneless, skinless breasts as we did in our Southwestern Fiesta class.  When using boneless, skinless, use less spice blend, as it will permeate the meat more.

Have your food processor or blender at the ready to make up the sauces ahead of time or while the chicken is in the oven. They each take 5 minutes or less to blend together once you have your mise en place (ingredients in place).

Smoked Red Pepper Sauce takes a few minutes or less to make.

Smoked Red Pepper Sauce takes a few minutes or less to make.

We made the Red Pepper Sauce in class first.  I had roasted a red pepper earlier in the day.  See how to do this here.

Simply combine the ingredients except the oil and press “On”. Once everything is blended, drizzle the oil in from the feed tube to emulsify the sauce.   This will take you one to two minutes.

Combine, spinach, cilantro stems and leaves to make this emerald green sauce.

Combine, spinach, cilantro stems and leaves to make this healthy sauce.

The Cilantro-Pumpkin Seed Sauce is just as easy.  Again, combine the ingredients minus the oil and honey.  Process until smooth.  Then drizzle in the oil to blend and emulsify and then the honey.

Our Southwestern Fiesta plate paired with a Tequila Sunrise cocktail.

Our colorful Southwestern Fiesta plate paired with a Tequila Sunrise cocktail.

We served our Sixteen-Spice Chicken with more chile-infused dishes that were wonderful.  For a fabulous summer party, create your own Southwestern Fiesta starting with the Sixteen-Spice chicken.

Melissa Cookbook #1143 5-14I just received Melissa’s new “The Great Pepper Cookbook”, which is definitely going to be the basis for our next Southwestern Fiesta class.  Check it out.

Print Sixteen-Spice Chicken Recipe

Print Smoked Red Pepper Sauce Recipe

Print Cilantro-Pumpkin Seed Sauce Recipe

Sixteen-Spice Chicken

  • 3 Tablespoons ground cinnamon
  • 3 Tablespoons ancho chile powder or generic chile powder
  • 3 Tablespoons pasilla chile powder or generic chile powder
  • 3 Tablespoons ground cumin
  • 3 Tablespoons ground coriander
  • 3 Tablespoons ground ginger
  • 3 Tablespoons light brown sugar
  • 2 Tablespoons garlic powder
  • 2 Tablespoons onion powder
  • 2 Tablespoons kosher salt
  • 2 Tablespoons coarsely ground black pepper
  • 1 Tablespoon ground cloves
  • 1 Tablespoon ground fennel seeds
  • 1 Tablespoon ground allspice
  • 1 teaspoon chile de arbol (small hot chile)
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 2 Tablespoons olive oil
  • 4 bone-in, skin-on chicken breast halves or boneless, skinless

1. Preheat oven to 400°.

2. Combine all sixteen spices.  Store in an airtight container for up to 6 months.

3. Rub each breast with up to 2 tablespoons of the spice mixture or enough to coat both sides of the chicken.

4. Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a large ovenproof skillet over medium-high heat until almost smoking.  Saute the breasts, skin side down, until golden brown, about 2 minutes per side. Turn the breast over and transfer the pan to the oven.  Bake the chicken until cooked through, 8 to 10 minutes for skinless, boneless or longer if on the bone.  Remove from the oven and let rest for 5 minutes before serving.

5. Top chicken breasts with cilantro-pumpkin seed sauce, red pepper sauce, pumpkin seeds and cilantro.

Servings: 4    501 calories per serving (Calorie count is off, since you will not be using all the spice blend)

Smoked Red Pepper Sauce

  • 4 red bell peppers, roasted, peeled and seeded
  • 1/2 cup small red onion, coarsely chopped
  • 4 cloves roasted garlic, peeled (or raw)
  • 1/4 cup red wine vinegar
  • 1 Tablespoon honey
  • 1 Tablespoon dijon mustard
  • 1 Tablespoon chipotle chile puree
  • 1 pinch salt & pepper to taste
  • 1/2 cup canola oil

1. Combine red peppers, onion, garlic, vinegar, honey, mustard and chipotle puree in a food processor or blender.  Process until smooth, With the motor running, slowly add the oil and blend until emulsified.  This sauce can be made 1 day in advance and refrigerated.

Servings: 12   98 calories per serving

Cilantro-Pumpkin Seed Sauce

  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 small shallots, coarsely chopped
  • 2 cups packed cilantro leaves
  • 1/2 cup pumpkin seeds (pepitas)
  • 1/4 cup red wine vinegar
  • 1/2 cup spinach leaves
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1 Tablespoon honey
  • 1 pinch salt & pepper to taste

1. Place garlic and shallot in a food processor.  Process until finely chopped.  Add cilantro, pumpkin seeds, vinegar, spinach and 1/2 cup of water and process until smooth.  With the motor running, slowly add the 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil and blend until emulsified.  Add the honey, salt and pepper to taste.  The mixture should be a slightly loose sauce consistency. If it is too thick, add water 1 tablespoon a a time.  Can be made up to 1 day in advance and refrigerated.  Bring to room temperature before serving.

Servings: 12      101 calories per serving


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