Bay Island Mango Glazed Chicken

Utila Bay Island Honduras is the setting for this one. If you step back 300 years you would be rubbing elbows with the original Captain Morgan and his merry band of cutthroat pirates who holed out in Utila Bay. This island was the staging grounds for raids on Spanish forts and galleons up and down the coast of Honduras, Guatemala and Nicaragua. Abundant rumors of buried or sunken treasure are surely apocryphal but there is a different variety of leftover Spanish loot that you should be able to get your hands on with ease, the golden flesh of mangos. People tell me that the mango is not indigenous to Central America, that it was brought by the Spaniards and proliferated. On the island of Utila alone you will find 15 different varieties, one of the broadest selections in the world, all are fabulous.

This recipe comes to from an ex-pat Idahoan and a former legend in the Bay Area named Dave Ayarra who stumbled onto the island some five years ago on a treasure hunt of his own. All good fusion chefs worth their salt know an opportunity when they see one and this recipe almost didn’t need to be discovered, it spoke to him. A puree of overripe mangos laced with thyme, ginger, sherry, garlic, a twist of lime and a touch of chile de arbol ladled over a whole chicken and baked to the color of the late afternoon sun. The chicken juices infuse the mango sauce pooled in the baking pan and is spooned over each serving. I imagine that Captain Morgan, with a ship’s hold full of salt-cod and moldy potatoes, would have traded a chest full of doubloons for a plate-full.


one whole chicken
4 medium sized mangoes
1 to 2 tsp. dried thyme
3 to 4 tblsp. sherry
2 cloves minced or crushed garlic
salt and pepper to season chicken

Season the chicken with salt and pepper, place in roasting pan. Peel mangoes, slice off flesh and puree in blender with thyme, garlic and sherry. Ladle over chicken and bake at medium heat.

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